The G-20 member countries have agreed on a broad four-point agenda as they identified the global challenges in the agriculture sector that need immediate attention. The ongoing discussions are likely to evolve solutions to the four issues of food security and nutrition, climate change’s impact, agri value chain and digital agriculture.

Addressing the media on the concluding day of the G20 first Agriculture Deputies’ Meeting of the Agriculture Working Group (AWG) on Wednesday, Union Agriculture Secretary Manoj Ahuja said discussions centred on achieving one of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) of zero hunger. “It has been seen that food insecurity has increased after 2018. This is a cause for concern. We discussed what best we can do to reduce hunger,” he said.

Highlighting that climate-smart agriculture was one of the four priority areas discussed at the first Agriculture Deputies Meeting, Ahuja said: “There was also discussion on the impact of climate change on agriculture and its productivity. We discussed how we can help save agriculture and make it sustainable.”

‘Farm to fork’

India also shared the steps taken towards ‘climate-smart agriculture’ like mapping the vulnerable areas and conducting research, he said. Further, Ahuja stressed that there is a need to increase climate finance to help farmers take up adaptation measures in order to mitigate the climate change impact.

Some members of G20 felt that there was a need for an environment for increasing climate financing for adaptation measures and suggested that farmers must be incentivised to adopt climate friendly farming or green agriculture like for instance carbon credit.

Termed “Farm to Fork”, another area which needs attention is the agriculture value chain as any disruption can have an impact on the small farmers’ income. Ahuja said there was a detailed discussion on improving the “farm to fork” value chain in agriculture and India told the gathering that it has already shifted its focus from a production-centric approach to a value-chain approach.

Agristack project

On digital agriculture, he said India shared its experience on ‘Agristack’ project that is aimed at issuing farm advisories to move farmers towards precision farming.

“Further discussions will continue in future meetings on agriculture to be held in Chandigarh, Varanasi and Hyderabad by taking foward the deliberations held in Indore,” Ahuja said.

Around 100 delegates, including representatives of international organisations such as FAO, IFAD and IFPRI, attended the event. The secretary said 10 more countries will be invited to future meetings, but he did not disclose their names. He refused to share further details saying it is a global responsibility and it is not fair to reveal details of the on-going discussions.