G-20 Agriculture Ministers Meet

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    • Recently, India’s Agriculture Minister addressed the G20 Agriculture meeting virtually.
      • It is one of the ministerial meetings organised as part of the G20 Leaders Summit 2021 to be hosted by Italy in October 2021.

    Key Highlights of G20 Ministers for Agriculture Meeting

    • Achieving Food Security: The Meeting ended with the approval of a Final Declaration (named as the “Florence Sustainability Charter”) reaffirming the commitment to achieve food security in the framework of the three dimensions of sustainability: economic, social and environmental
    • Goal Of Zero Hunger: To ensure sustainable and resilient food systems, the G20 Ministers reaffirmed their intention to reach the goal of zero hunger, which is also threatened by the consequences of Covid-19. 
      • Amid the increase in production, in fact, a quarter of the world population still suffers from food insecurity.
    • Coordinated & Effective Responses: Climate change, extreme weather events, parasites, animal and plant diseases and shocks such as the Covid-19 pandemic require coordinated and effective responses. 
    • No Unjustified Restrictive Measures: The G20 Ministers agreed not to adopt any unjustified restrictive measures that could lead to extreme volatility of food prices in international markets, thus threatening food security.
    • Cooperation For Agriculture: The Ministers called for strengthened cooperation between G20 members and developing countries on food and agriculture to share knowledge and help developing the internal production capacities best suited to local needs, thus contributing to the resilience and recovery of agriculture and rural communities.

    India’s Statements

    • International Year of Millets: Keeping in mind the importance of Nutri-cereals, the United Nations has accepted the proposal of the Government of India and declared the year 2023 as the International Year of Millets. 
    • Reintroducing Traditional Food Items: 
      • The Government of India has emphasized on reintroducing traditional food items including millet, other nutritious cereals, fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy and organic products in the diet of the people. 
      • Their production has been phenomenal in India in recent years and India is becoming a destination country for healthy food items.
    • Food security: With an annual production of 308 million tonnes of food grains, India is not only in the realm of food security but is also catering to needs of other countries.
    • Biofortified Crops: The biofortified-varieties are being promoted to remove malnutrition. 17 such varieties of different crops have been developed and released for cultivation. 
    • Unaffected From COVID-19: The Indian agriculture sector remained unaffected even during the COVID pandemic. During the year 2020-2021, along with an increase in the production of food grains, there has been a significant increase in exports.
    • Key Initiatives by  Government of India (GoI): 
      • The GoI has taken steps to increase the optimal use of water resources, create infrastructure for irrigation, conserve soil fertility with balanced use of fertilizers, and provide connectivity from farms to markets.
      • Under the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, the government is providing income support of Rs.6,000 per year to small farmers. So far, Rs 1.58 lakh crore has been deposited in the bank accounts of more than 11.37 crore farmers under this scheme. 
      • The ‘Per Drop- More Crop’ scheme for irrigation and ‘Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana‘ for organic farming is being successfully implemented. 
      • The GoI has implemented the Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana to provide insurance cover for the farmers. 
      • To address the malnutrition problem, India is running the world’s largest food-based safety net program, which includes the Public Distribution System and the Mid-Day Meal Scheme.
    • Main challenge – Food vs Population:  
      • The demand for food will rise amid depleting natural resources and the challenge of climate change.
      • The demand for foodgrain is expected to rise to 350 million tonnes with likely increase in India’s population to 150 crore by 2030-32. 
    • Increase investment: India stressed that there is a need to increase investment in agricultural research and development amid the challenges of climate change and expected increase in food demand by 2030.
    • Agricultural R&D: 
      • Agricultural research has played a major role in transforming India from a net food importer to exporter.
      • There is a need to rethink and adapt agricultural research and development, along with increasing investment in scientific research to achieve adequate and nutritious food along with environmental sustainability. 
    • India’s Resolve:
      • India is fully aware of its commitments on the issues of climate change and several steps have been taken to make agriculture sustainable. 
      • India will share best practices and build capacities of other developing countries. 
      • India reiterated its resolve to continue working together to achieve the ‘Poverty Reduction’ and ‘Zero Hunger Goal
      • India will cooperate in R&D and exchange of best practices to enhance productivity.

     

    G20 Leaders Summit 2021

    • It will be hosted by Italy in October 2021.
    • Focus: The Summit will focus on three broad, interconnected pillars of action: People, Planet, Prosperity
    • Aim: To take the lead in ensuring a swift international response to the COVID-19 pandemic – able to provide equitable, worldwide access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines – while building up resilience to future health-related shocks.
    • Three tracks of consultation:
      • Consultations for the annual G20 meeting are conducted through three tracks. 
      • Government discussions take place under the Finance and Sherpa Tracks. 
      • Civil society organizations participate through Engagement Groups.
      • The Sherpa Track includes meetings of Ministers and relevant senior officials focused on socioeconomic issues such as agriculture, anti-corruption, climate, digital economy, education, employment, energy, environment, health, tourism, trade and investment.
    • Ministerial Meetings:
      • Each G20 Presidency includes the organization of ministerial meetings on each of the main focus areas of the forum. 
      • These meetings are important opportunities to discuss and further develop issues of international relevance, thus building consensus around specific shared deliverables. 
      • The ministerial meetings are organized independently from the Summit, where the Heads of State and Government endorse some of the key outcomes achieved by the Ministers.
    • Members of G20:
      • The G20 is made up of 19 countries and the European Union. 
      • The 19 countries are Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK, and the US.

    (Image Courtesy: IBEF )

     

    Way Ahead

    • A comprehensive strategy is needed to meet the increased demand, for increasing productivity and increasing the income of farmers.
    • Sustainable agriculture needs to be widely practiced to overcome the challenges of achieving food security, adapting to climate change and mitigating climate change.
    • The Government of India has emphasised on re-introducing traditional food items including millet, other nutritious cereals, fruits and vegetables, fish, dairy and organic products in the diet of the people. 

     

    Additional information

    UN declares 2023 as the international year of millets

    • The United Nations (UN) has accepted India’s proposal and declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets while urging the G-20 nations to support the recognition of the Millet Year to support nutrition and sustainable agriculture. 

    About the G20

    • The G20 is the international forum that brings together the world’s major economies.
    • Objectives:
      • Policy coordination between its members in order to achieve global economic stability, sustainable growth;
      • To promote financial regulations that reduce risks and prevent future financial crises; and
      • To create a new international financial architecture.
    • Origins of the G20
      • 1999: In the wake of the 1997 economic crisis, the G7 Finance Ministers announced the creation of the “Group of 20”, aimed at including other countries in their discussions related to global economics and finance. 
      • The first official meeting of the G20 was held in Berlin in December 1999.
      • 2009: At the Pittsburgh Summit, it was decided to institutionalize the G20 as the main forum for global economic and financial cooperation.
      • 2010: The G20 Leaders have met every year since 2010.
    • Key Facts
      • Population: 60% of the world population
      • Economy: 80% of global GDP
      • Trade: 75% of global exports
    • Participants
      • Members: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, India, Indonesia, Italy, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, Turkey, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union. Spain is also invited as a permanent guest.
      • Others: Each year, the Presidency invites guest countries, which take full part in the G20 exercise. Several international and regional organizations also participate, granting the forum an even broader representation.
    • Functioning:
      • The G20 does not have a permanent secretariat: its agenda and activities are established by the rotating Presidencies, in cooperation with the membership.
      • A “Troika”, represented by the country that holds the Presidency, its predecessor and its successor, works to ensure continuity within the G20.
      • The Troika countries are currently Saudi Arabia, Italy and Indonesia.
    • The Finance Track
      • Within the G20 process, Finance Track includes the meetings held among Finance and Economy Ministers, Central Bank Governors, Vice Ministers and Sherpas (negotiators) designated by the respective economic ministries.
      • It mainly focuses on economic, financial, monetary and tax issues. 
    • Summits
      • The first was held in Washington in November 2008.
      • The last – held digitally under the Saudi Presidency – in November 2020.
      • The G20 Summit 2021 will be held in Rome, Italy. The Rome Summit will be the 16th G20 gathering at the level of Heads of State and Government. 
    • G20 Innovation League
      • It is a unique event dedicated to sharing views and innovative solutions to key global challenges and to fostering international cooperation.
      • Hosted by the G20 Italian Presidency.
      • The event will involve G20 Members and guest countries, relevant institution representatives, as well as innovation ecosystem players such as VC funds, innovative startups, experts and key businesses in each of the focus areas.

    G20 Ministers for Agriculture Meeting

    • The G20 Ministers of Agriculture met for the first time in Paris in 2011 to address the impact of the economic crisis on the agricultural sector threatened by price volatility. 
    • Since 2015, they have met annually to discuss food security, nutrition and global agricultural development.
    • The recent G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting was held in Florence on 17-18 September 2021.

     

    Source: PIB