SAARC Technical Committee on Agriculture, Rural Development
As per the reconstituted SAARC Integrated Programme of Action (SIPA),
the two Technical Committees on Agriculture and Rural Development were
merged into one as the Technical Committee on Agriculture and Rural
The reconstituted Committee under the chairmanship of Nepal started
functioning in 2000 and held two meetings. Following adoption of the
Regional Integrated Programme of Action (RIPA) by the Twenty-fourth
Session of the Council of Ministers in Islamabad in January 2004, India
hosted the First Meeting of the Technical Committee on Agriculture and
Rural Development (including Livestock and Fisheries) under RIPA in New
Delhi on 22-23 June 2004.
It discussed a theme paper on “Water Resources Management for
Agriculture in SAARC Countries”. Amongst others, it also discussed the
draft Terms of Reference for the establishment of a “SAARC Quadrangle
Milk Grid”, which elaborated on the possibility of establishing joint
venture projects for processing milk into high value added shelf-life
milk products and marketing these products in the proposed quadrangle
covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
It considered a Concept Paper on “Exchange of Rural Development
Volunteers in the SAARC Countries”. It discussed modalities for the
establishment of Regional Food Bank, as decided by the Twelfth SAARC
India hosted the Second Meeting of the SAARC Technical Committee on
Agriculture and Rural Development in New Delhi from 27-28 June 2005. It
had discussion on a theme paper titled “Water for Agriculture in SAARC
It deliberated on the Concept Paper prepared by India on the
establishment of Regional Food Bank. The Meeting considered the Report
of the SAARC-FAO Expert Level Meeting on Food Security, Integrated Pest
Management (IPM) and Transboundary Animal Diseases (TADs).
The Meeting revised the project proposals and recommended their
approval. Subsequently, the preceding meetings of the Thirteenth SAARC
Summit approved the three projects jointly identified with FAO with some
Accordingly, FAO has recently approved a technical cooperation
project paving the way for implementation of the project- Regional
Strategy and Regional Programme for Food Security.
The Third Meeting of the Committee was held in New Delhi on 18-19
September 2006. It revised the Concept Paper on the SAARC Regional Food
Bank. It recommended the Member States to prepare their country
perspectives, based on which a SAARC Agricultural Perspective/Vision
2020 would be elaborated.
The functioning of the Technical Committee has been helpful in
bridging critical knowledge gaps and in identifying many concrete areas
for pursuing regional actions and projects.
The previous meetings have identified many thematic areas for
exchanging knowledge and best practices, harmonization of regional
approaches and priority actions to be pursued both at the national and
The Third Meeting of the TCARD found merit in creating synergy
between SAARC and the Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia
and the Pacific (CIRDAP) based in Dhaka and recommended signing of an
MoU between the two organizations.
Subsequently, the Twenty-third Session of the Standing Committee (New
Delhi, 31 March - 1 April 2007) authorized the Secretary General to sign
MoU with CIRDAP, which was approved by the Twenty-eighty Session of the
Council of Ministers (Islamabad, 2 April 2007).
Accordingly, an MoU has been signed between the Secretary General of
SAARC and the Director General of CIRDAP at the SAARC Secretariat in
Kathmandu on 20 April 2007.