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CIMMYT participates in the 2011 APAARI Expert Consultation Meeting

November 7, 2011

Thomas Lumpkin, CIMMYT’s Director General, recently participated as an expert at a consultation meeting on “Agricultural Biotechnology, Biosafety, and Biosecurity”, at the Taiwan Agricultural Research Institute (TARI) in Taichung, Taiwan. It was the first time CIMMYT has participated at these meetings and demonstrates the increased activity by CIMMYT in the region.

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CIMMYT has regional offices in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Nepal, and Pakistan, and Lumpkin used the meeting to highlight CIMMYT’s achievements in Asia and the recent launch of the Borlaug Institute for South Asia (BSIA) on 5 October 2011. CIMMYT’s participation in the meeting coincided with the release of recent reports updating estimates on population growth; some anticipate stabilization at 9 billion, whilst others estimate increases to 15 billion. In terms of predictions for Asia, India is set to overtake China in terms of population by 2030, as according to censuses, the population of India increased by 181 million in the past decade alone.

The meeting was organized by the Asia-Pacific Association of Agricultural Research Institutions (APAARI). Raj Paroda, APAARI’s Executive Secretary, opened the first session, stating: “Biological pests and diseases do not respect political or geographical boundaries. For this reason, it is critical that we all come together and discuss the issues, invite farmers, understand the concerns of all stakeholders.” Diseases such as Ug99 can have a devastating effect on crops worldwide, so regional cooperation in the topic of agriculture is vital in addressing global food security.

Paroda also emphasized the importance of involving farmers in meetings which discuss scientific applications to agriculture. He urged the international community to include farmers and farmers’ groups in international conferences for agriculture, asserting that: “Agricultural development should be based not only on facts, but also what you have been told about”.

The next APAARI Expert Consultation Meeting will be in 2012, focusing on transboundary diseases.