International Agro Biodiversity Congress | IAS Target IAS Target

International Agro-Biodiversity Congress

The 1st International Agro-Biodiversity Congress held in New Delhi in November 2016 was attended by 900 participants from 60 countries. The conference was organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Biodiversity International, a CGIAR Research Centre. Throughout the Congress, delegated discussed various aspects of access, conservation, and use of agrobiodiversity in 16 technical sessions, four satellite sessions, a genebank roundtable, a public forum, a farmers’ forum, and poster sessions.

Headquartered of CGIAR : Rome, Italy

Based on the deliberations of the congress the Delhi Declaration on Agro -Biodiversity Management was adopted.

  • It recognizes the importance of traditional knowledge of agro-biodiversity of farm men and women, pastoralists and other tribal and rural communities, and their central role in its conservation and uses for food and climate-resilient world.
  • The UN is also urged to consider declaring soon a ‘Year of Agrobiodiversity’ to draw worldwide attention and to catalyze urgent action.
  • It invites researchers to utilize modern technologies for characterization, evaluation, and trait discovery using genetic resources.
  • It reemphasizes the necessity of global exchange of plant, animal, aquatic microbial, and insect genetic resources for food and agriculture to meet the ever-growing food and nutritional needs of each country.
  • It calls upon nations to accord top priority to agrobiodiversity conservation and their sustainable use towards achieving targets of SDGs relating to poverty alleviation, food, and nutritional security, good health, gender equity, and partnership.

Importance of the Congress

  • Agro-biodiversity congress important currently, at a time when the government is promoting ecological agriculture, sustainable agriculture, organic farming, and aiming to improve the farmer’s income. Climate change and Global warming are a threat to agro-biodiversity, so congress helps the cause of the environment in which agriculture is prominent because of food security. The government has the target of doubling the farmer’s income by 2022.
  • The Conference will lead to discussion and knowledge sharing on issues for efficient management of gene banks, science-led innovations in genetic resources, crop diversification, issues relating to quarantine, biosafety and biosecurity, and IPR.

Mauritius uses the System of Rice Intensification (SRI) method for cultivation and Countries learn from each other’s best practices and try to adopt those best practices depending on the agro-climatic situations and its feasibility. It helps innovation, improves productivity and income, and reduces cost.
The System of Rice Intensification (SRI) is a methodology aimed at increasing the yield of rice produced in farming. It is low water, a labor-intensive, method that uses younger seedlings singly spaced and typically hand weeded with special tools. It was developed in 1983 by the French Jesuit Father Henri de Laulanié in Madagascar.
India learned about drip and sprinkler irrigation from Israel which used it for fruits and vegetable cultivation. Sustainable agriculture or sustainable livelihood of small and marginal farmers depends on the key knowledge and inputs. These conferences help in a long way. By organizing Congress on biodiversity can play a part in generating more awareness. 2014 was the International year of family farming (declared by the UN) which created lots of awareness globally.

Benefits of Diversified Agriculture

  • Food grain production, particularly cereals was the focus of the Green Revolution. So the government is now focusing on diversifying in favour of oilseeds, pulses, fruits, vegetables, and promoting crops in which India is deficient. The total contribution of food grains to the total value of the output of all agricultural commodities is about 25%.
  • Through diversified agriculture, the farmers' risk in crop farming is reduced.
  • Mixed farming helps farmers to augment income. Traditionally Indian farmers use to follow mixed cropping and reduced their risk, and improved their income.
  • The mono-cropping cannot ensure enough income or adequate access to livelihood security and food security. At the same time, mono-cropping is not good for soil health. So replenishment of soil needs focusing on diversified agriculture
  • We import food to meet our demand, so Green Revolution helped in food security, but this promotes mono-cropping. This created a lot of problems in terms of erosion of soil health, water depletion, etc.
  • Another area is Animal husbandry. Animal husbandry contributes about 28% of the total value of agricultural output. It requires a small area for cultivating fodder crops. There is a huge potential and harnessing it is beneficial for the farmer.