International seed treaty: India calls for eliminating north-south divide, global harmony to fight hunger : The Tribune India

International seed treaty: India calls for eliminating north-south divide, global harmony to fight hunger

India committed to ensure food and nutritional security for citizens, says Tomar

International seed treaty: India calls for eliminating north-south divide, global harmony to fight hunger

Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar at the inauguration of the 9th Session of Governing Body of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, in New Delhi, on Monday, September 19, 2022. PTI

Tribune News Service

Vibha Sharma

New Delhi, September 19

Amid lack of consensus on issues like access and benefit sharing of germplasm, India on Monday urged member countries of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) to make headway eliminating the north-south divide, and global harmony to use every available germplasm resource and every advanced technology to fight global hunger and ensure food and environmental security.

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar said the protection of plant genetic resources—the source of solution to breeding challenges—is a “shared responsibility of humanity”.

Tomar said people around the world have conserved priceless genetic resources and the treaty must support access and exchange of all crop genetic resources. Member countries must stress on conservation and utilisation of minor millets, under-utilised potential crops before it is too late. “To ensure bountiful crop production year after year the answer lies in crop diversity and diversification,” he said at the inauguration of the Ninth Session of the Governing Body of ITPGRFA.

“No negotiation is possible at the cost of food security. All international forums must not forget that food is an essential fundamental right. Developing countries will be motivated by the need to ensure that the rights of farmers producing food are never compromised. This community is also responsible for the existence of plant genetic resources that we have today. The aim of the Plant Treaty is to recognise the contribution of farmers and local communities to the diversity of crops,” he said.

“India remains committed to ensuring food and nutritional security for its citizens,” he added, saying COVID pandemic taught many lessons, including that availability and access to food is paramount to peace and stability.

Tomar said plant genetic resources are also vulnerable due to habitat destruction and climate change. “We must use all modern technologies as well as traditional knowledge to preserve and use them in a sustainable manner. Our fight for climate resilient agriculture and nutritional security leans heavily on your decisions and actions,” he said.

The ITPGRFA is a legally binding comprehensive agreement signed during the 31st session of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Rome in November, 2001 which took effect on June 29, 2004.

Also called Seed or Plant Treaty, it currently has 149 Contracting Parties including India.

Welcoming dignitaries, Agriculture secretary Manoj Ahuja said deliberations during the GB9 must lead to a balance in between genetic resources governance with use, investment with innovation and access with benefit sharing to achieve future-ready solutions for agriculture and food security.

More than 400 delegates from nearly 150 member-countries have assembled during the six-day long GB9 to deliberate upon the ITPGRFA which oversees how the member nations exchange and sustainably use the world’s Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture, while ensuring fair and equitable benefit sharing arising from its use.

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