Summary of BRICS Agriculture Ministers' Meeting
Chengdu, China, October 29-30, 2011
Prepared by Elvira Omarbagaeva, BRICS Research Group, December 5, 2011
The three-day conference (October 29-31) took place in Changdu, China, with the goal to track progress on commitments made in the joint Moscow Declaration (an agreement to fight hunger signed in 2010).
Agriculture ministers from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa agreed to jointly build an agricultural information and digital platform to provide more accurate long-term market forecasts for food producers and purchasers (Business Day, November 1, 2011).
The ministers also signed a second declaration committing their countries to
- enhance the coordination and communication with international and regional organisations, including the G20, the Food and Agriculture Organiaation, the World Food Programme;
- combat hunger and call on the international community to make all efforts to further enhance aid with the United Nations in playing a coordinating role in preventing further deterioration of the crisis in the Horn of Africa;
- make best efforts to help African countries improve their food production capacity so as to enhance food security, particularly among smallholder farmers;
- enhance agricultural cooperation among BRICS countries, which is of great significance for ensuring global food security and sustainable agricultural development, eradicating poverty and achieving the UN Millennium Development Goals;
- costruct an agricultural information and digital agriculture platform to provide more accurate long-term market forecast information for food producers and purchasers to reduce excessive speculative activities that result in high food prices;
- develop agriculture in other developing countries by actively strengthening coordination and cooperation for comprehensive food productivity of farmers; and
- establish the "BRICS Strategic Alliance for Agricultural Research and Technology Cooperation," which will pool efforts in addressing major challenges faced by the world in agricultural technologies. The alliance will receive guidance and support from the agricultural ministries of the respective members to strengthen and deepen cooperation among BRICS countries in dealing with the impact of climate change on global food security (South African Government Information, October 31, 2011).
The ministers also agreed to adopt the "Action Plan 2012 to 2016" in order to achieve the objectives, which includes:
- creating a basic agricultural information exchange system of BRICS countries (coordinated by China);
- developing a general strategy for ensuring access to food for the most vulnerable population (coordinated by Brazil);
- reducing the negative impacts of climate change on food security and adaptation of agriculture to climate change (coordinated by South Africa);
- enhancing agricultural technology cooperation and innovation (coordinated by India); and
- promoting trade and investment (coordinated by Russia).
According to a press statement released October 31, 2011, Chinese State Council Vice Premier Hui Liangyu called for deeper agricultural cooperation and asked BRICS members to prioritize agricultural development, especially food production. He suggested the countries develop agricultural production sustainably and scientifically coping with new challenges. He said that the BRICS should base the development of the biomass energy industry on the premise of safeguarding global food safety. Hui also called on international organizations and developed countries to offer technological help and funds to developing countries to enhance food and agricultural production capacity and guarantee food safety (Xinhuanet, October 31, 2011; China Daily, November 9, 2011).
The third BRICS meeting will take place in India in 2012, when progress regarding the implementation of the "Action Plan 2012 to 2016" will be reviewed (South African Government Information, October 31, 2011).