New Delhi, Mar 3 : India will host the first South Asian conference on agriculture in New Delhi from March 5, which aims to focus on alleviating hunger and poverty in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries.
A three-day meet on 'Science-based agricultural transformation towards alleviation of hunger and poverty in the SAARC countries' will discuss the regional agrarian situation, encompassing food insecurity and poverty and suggest necessary policy and programme shifts to meet the Millennium Development Goals.
"Nearly 40 per cent of the world's poor reside in South Asia and the responsibility to eradicate poverty lies more on the SAARC countries," Chairman of the Steering Committee of the event Suresh P Pradhu said.
India as a predominant emerging economy and has to take a lead in the region as it faces a major problem in meeting food requirements, he said.
The event, to be inaugurated by Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, would see participation from farm ministers, agricultural scientists and about 100 farmers from eight members of SAARC region (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka), he added.
Renowned agricultural scientist and member of Rajya Sabha M S Swaminathan said, "The need of the hour is to fight hunger and step up food supply in the world. Otherwise, poor people will further be withdrawn from access to basic food because of the rising commodity prices in the global market".
Indian Farmers Fertiliser and Cooperative Ltd, IFFCO Foundation along with Indian Council of Agricultural Research are organising the event.