South Africa and India held a bilateral meeting in New Delhi to strengthen co-operation in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries between the two developing nations. Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Minister Senzeni Zokwana, and Indian Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Parshottam Rupala, held a meeting with an agenda on crop and animal production, research, food and nutrition security, agro-forestry, aquaculture and agro-processing.
The department’s spokesperson, Khaye Nkwanyana, informed that the bilateral meeting was a consequence of technical discussions that took place at the fourth Joint Working Group on Agriculture between the two BRICS nations.Last week, rejuvenating the partnership between India and South Africa took centre stage as President Cyril Ramaphosa was welcomed to New Delhi as a State guest of honor for India’s 70th Republic Day celebrations.
Both department ministers recognized the importance of agriculture to the economies of their respective countries, and committed to continue deepening bilateral trade in agricultural commodities. South Africa gained market access for mangoes in 2016 and work is now at an advanced stage to gain market access for avocados, litchis, pickled sheep and goat skins.
The major areas in the work plan are crop breeding, silk production, agricultural biotechnology, post-harvest technologies and agriculture education and training. Further agreements were made on working together on mutual food and security initiatives directed towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, with specific reference to addressing poverty and hunger.
Both ministers further noted the importance of the soil-water-energy relationship and committed to intensify initiatives in this nexus to address sustainable agricultural systems.They also discussed the importance of the use of extension services in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure revolutionary agricultural development.
They agreed on convening an inaugural bilateral seminar on extension. This event will be a platform to share best practices and set a new bilateral agenda on extension and technology transfer.