BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.8 billion people, nearly 22 percent of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.6 trillion. In this region, Agriculture is the common people's principal employment source. Acknowledging the cumulative importance of agriculture and ensuring sustainable food security, the Leaders of the BIMSTEC Member States included “Agriculture and Food Security” as one of the BIMSTEC core areas of cooperation. The leaders have time and again adopted necessary measures to strengthen this bond among the BIMSTEC Member States.
Myanmar is the lead country for the coordination of activities in the Agriculture and Food Security Sector with two sub-sectors-
(i)Agriculture (ii) Fisheries & Livestock
The establishment of the Agriculture and Food Security sector and the agriculture, fisheries & livestock Sub-sectors were approved by the 5th Summit (Colombo – virtual – 30 March 2021) following a process of rationalization and reorganization of sectors and sub-sectors.
At the Eighth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Dhaka, Bangladesh on 19 December 2005, Agriculture was included as another stand-alone sector of BIMSTEC cooperation.
- Institutional Mechanism
Flow Chart for reporting and decision-making mechanisms of the BIMSTEC Agricultural Cooperation
The BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture (BAMM) and the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting on Agriculture (SOM-A) are held in a regular basis. Myanmar, in its capacity as the Lead Country for Agriculture Sector, hosted the First BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture (1st BAMM) on 12 July 2019 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, preceded by the First BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting on Agriculture (1st SOM-A) on 11 July 2019. The Second BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture (2nd BAMM) was held New Delhi, India, preceded by the Second BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting on Agriculture (2nd SOM-A) on 09-10 November 2022, in a virtual mode.
- Joint Statement of the 2nd BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture
- Joint Statement of the First BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture
The BIMSTEC Expert Group Meeting on Agricultural Cooperation (EGMAC) is the institutional mechanism to conduct the business of the Agriculture Sector besides BAMM and SOM. So far, the Expert Group has held nine (9) meetings since its first meeting held in Myanmar in 2007.
Table 1: BIMSTEC Expert Group Meeting on Agricultural Cooperation (EGMAC)
|1.||First EGMAC||15-16 March 2007||Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar|
|2.||Second EGMAC||24-26 April 2008||New Delhi, India|
|3.||Third EGMAC||22-23 November 2010||Kandy, Sri Lanka|
|4.||Fourth EGMAC||06-07 April 2015||Kathmandu, Nepal|
|5.||Fifth EGMAC||28-29 December 2016||Thimphu, Bhutan|
|6.||Sixth EGMAC||12-16 December 2017||Chiang Rai, Thailand|
|7.||Seventh EGMAC||24-25 April 2019||Dhaka, Bangladesh|
|8.||Eighth EGMAC||31 August 2021||New Delhi, India (Virtual)|
|9.||Ninth EGMAC||08 September 2022||Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar (Virtual)|
- BIMSTEC Agricultural Cooperation Common Projects
The 1st EGMAC (Myanmar, 15-16 March 2007) identified Areas of Cooperation, Plan of Action, and Common Projects under Agricultural cooperation. The 2nd EGMAC (India, 24-26 April 2008) designated Lead Coordinating Countries to spearhead cooperation on each of the Common Projects. The 7th EGMAC (Bangladesh, 24-25 April 2019) decided to have the following Seven (7) Common Projects:
|1||Workshop on Developing Good Agriculture Practices (GAP)-||Thailand|
|2.||Food Security Information System and its Networks||Bangladesh|
|3.||South-South East Asian Diagnosis Network for Ensuring Bio-security and Bio-safety||India|
|4||Human Resources Development in Agriculture||India|
|5.||Encouraging private sector participation especially in value-chain management for agricultural products||Myanmar|
|6.||Workshop on Promotion of Agricultural Trade and Investment among BIMSTEC Member States||Bhutan|
|7.||Development of Seed Sector in BIMSTEC Member States||India|
- Plan of Action on Strengthening BIMSTEC Agricultural Cooperation (2023-2027)
To maintain the ongoing Agricultural cooperation among the Member States, the Second BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting approved the updated Plan of Action the Plan, incorporating all the Common Projects in consultation with the Lead Country-Myanmar.
- BIMSTEC Scholarship on Agriculture
To deepen the Agricultural cooperation among the BIMSTEC Member States, a scholarship program on Agriculture was proposed. During the First BAMM and following up on the discussions of the First BIMSTEC SOM-A (Myanmar, 11-12 July 2019), India offered a fully-funded BIMSTEC Scholarship on Agriculture – 06 slots for Masters and 06 slots for the Ph.D. programme. One Master and one Ph.D. for each BIMSTEC Member State.
- Other Events
India hosted the “International Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems” on 11-13 December 2019 in New Delhi and all BIMSTEC Member States participated in the Seminar.
Fisheries & Livestock
The fisheries sector has been the priority sector of BIMSTEC cooperation since the Second BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Dhaka on 19 November 1998. The Second BIMSTEC Summit (New Delhi, 13 November 2008) decided to include inland fisheries in the scope of cooperation in this area.
- Institutional Mechanism
The 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting (Colombo– virtual, 01 April 2021) decided to establish an Expert Group on Fisheries and Livestock to deal with issues pertaining to Fisheries & Livestock. The Second BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ on Agriculture (2nd SOM-A) agreed to include Fisheries and Livestock Sub-sector under the purview of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials on Agriculture (SOM-A) and BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture (BAMM).
- Activities under Fisheries subsector
- Before the rationalization of sectors, activities under the Fisheries sector were led by Thailand. A number of activities were commenced to develop the fisheries in Bay of Bengal region.
- At present, Myanmar as a lead country developing a Plan of Action and will generate concrete project-based activities for the promotion of fisheries and livestock.
- Concluded Projects under Fisheries sub-sector
|1.||BIMSTEC Workshop on Fisheries Cooperation||8-10 May 2007||
|2.||Ecosystem-Based Fishery Management in the Bay of Bengal||12 December 2007||Thailand|
|3.||BIMSTEC Fisheries Meeting on Sustainable Fisheries in the Bay of Bengal||20-22 January 2009||Bangkok, Thailand|
|4.||BIMSTEC International Training Program on Ornamental Aquatic Plants Propagation||
1-28 August 2010
|5.||BIMSTEC International Training Program on Aquatic Plants Tissue Culture||29 August – 27 September 2011||Thailand|
|6.||BIMSTEC International Training Program on Aquatic Plants Soilless Culture and Post-Harvest Technology||30 July – 28 August 2012||Thailand|
|7.||BIMSTEC International Training Program on Advance Aquatic Plants Tissue Culture||15 October – 13 November 2013||Thailand|
|8.||International Training Workshop on Inland Aquaculture and Small-scale Inland Aquaculture Promotion for Fisheries Officers/Biologists from the BIMSTEC/IORA Member Countries||04-17 March 2018||Bangkok, Thailand|