List of Papers & Presentations
List of Participants
Agenda for the Fifth Session of the Technical Committee (TC) of UNAPCAEM & Expert Group Meeting on Application of Agricultural Machinery for Sustainable Agriculture in the Asia-Pacific Region, 14-16 October 2009, Los Baños, the Philippines
The Fifth Session of the Technical Committee (TC) of UNAPCAEM and Expert Group Meeting (EGM) on Application of Agricultural Machinery for Sustainable Agriculture took place on 14-16 October in Los Baños, the Philippines. This year¡¯s TC was two-fold, both sharing the Centre¡¯s work report for 2009 and work plan for 2010, and conducting an EGM to discuss the development of agricultural machinery in the Asia and Pacific region. The three-day meeting was attended by 12 Asian and Pacific countries, as well as experts from the Asian Institute of Technology, University of South Australia, International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), and representatives from United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), and United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). The meeting was hosted by the University of the Philippines, Los Baños.
The theme of the 5th TC is ¡°Environmentally Efficient Machinery for Sustainable Agriculture in Asia and the Pacific: Challenges and Prospects¡±. The EGM brainstormed on the holistic approach towards the establishment of an effective regional framework to develop agricultural machinery, and provided technical inputs to the Study Report on Agricultural Machinery Development in Asia and the Pacific. The study report will cover country needs assessment, a feasibility study on the proposed establishment of Asia and Pacific Network for Testing Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM), and policy recommendations on how to promote technology transfer and capacity building. The study report will be released by the end of the year.
Twelve country presentations were made at the 5th TC, detailing the achievements as well as technological constraints, and gaps in the development of agricultural machinery. Priority areas for capacity building were identified. Experts at the meeting called for technology transfer, dissemination of knowledge, and sharing the prototype and success stories in the regional efforts to address the low level of agricultural machinery development.
With agriculture the main livelihood of the poor, providing employment for 60 per cent of the working population in Asia and the Pacific, the Meeting noted that the agricultural sector is also one of the driving forces in greenhouse gas emissions and land use effects thought to cause climate change. And such threats will further undermine regional efforts to combat food insecurity in the region and place ever greater stress on rural livelihoods.
Meeting participants agreed that a second green revolution needs to take place so that agriculture as a sector is no longer a major source of pressure on vital natural resources, but a sector that can produce enough healthy food for all in a sustainable way, and improve the livelihoods of farmers.
In her opening remarks at the meeting, Ms. Ai Yuxin, APCAEM-ESCAP¡¯s Senior Expert stressed that ¡°if future economic development is to be sustainable and inclusive, significant investments are required by governments to promote the development of pro-poor and low-carbon sustainable agricultural systems¡±.
Increased government support of research into sustainable agriculture is an important building block for regional food security. Significant technological improvements in food production are going to be required if the growing needs of the Asia Pacific region are to be met. Climate change is projected to make significant changes to the conditions for growing crops around the region, and adaptive technologies will be essential for mitigating the worst of these impacts.
Participants noted that agricultural machinery covers a wide range of technology that addresses land cultivation, irrigation, pest control, harvest, processing, grain store and transportation. Like other machinery, the issues on testing, standards and codes for agricultural machinery are quite relevant to operation, energy efficiency, emissions, as well as occupational safety and health.
Once armed with the study findings, a window of opportunity exists to transform previous piecemeal testing standards and codes that only address a narrow range of safety issues to a more comprehensive network that addresses farmer safety, livelihood, food security and the global threat of climate change.
The TC/EGM participants hoped that this year¡¯s Los Baños meeting will demonstrate to food-insecure nations and communities that actions are being taken to develop an effective and holistic regional mechanism and secure tangible results. Ms. Ai in her closing remarks called upon this TC/EGM to ¡°provide the momentum needed to bring about such a mechanism¡±.
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Of special note:
This year¡¯s TC/EGM took place shortly after the devastating floods in the Philippines. In this regard, APCAEM-ESCAP expresses its deep condolences for the loss of life and devastation caused by recent storms in the country. It is a tribute to country recovery efforts that the meeting was able to be held on schedule in Los Baños.