ERIA President Participates in G20 Agriculture Ministers Meeting in Hyderabad, India
Hyderabad, 15-17 June 2023: Professor Tetsuya Watanabe, President designate of the Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), led an ERIA delegation to the G20 Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting in Hyderabad, India, attended by agriculture ministers from G20 and 10 invited countries, plus representatives from 10 international organizations including the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and ERIA.
India's Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, opened the meeting with a video message stressing the need for sustainable and inclusive food systems prioritising the resilience of small farmers against climate change, strengthening global food security, and securing the fertiliser supply chain. He also emphasized the urgent need for empowering farmers through innovation and digital technology.
During the Plenary Session on Sustainable Agriculture for Food Security and Nutrition, Prof Watanabe spoke of ERIA’s efforts toward enhancing sustainable and resilient agriculture and food security. He stressed ERIA’s commitment to supporting the endeavours of the Global South, including the ASEAN region, to transform their agri-food systems to be more resilient and sustainable through ERIA’s practical studies and capacity building activities. Also, quoting past and ongoing ERIA studies, he outlined the challenges in achieving long-term sustainability and food security as: the existence of a significant digital divide despite the widespread recognition of the potential for digital transformation to enhance productivity and sustainability in the agri-food system; imperfect information regarding the costs associated with adopting technologies that support sustainable agriculture at farm level; and the necessity of specialised skill and knowledge and servicing models to adopt technology-driven sustainable solutions.
Prof Watanabe also introduced the ERIA Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC), which will serve as a regional open innovation hub bringing together diverse stakeholders, including young entrepreneurs, investors, businesses, academia, and policymakers. He said E-DISC will make a significant contribution to strengthening food security by providing a platform for knowledge sharing and training. He concluded his remarks expressing appreciation for the 2023 G20 framework for food security and nutrition as well as India’s noteworthy initiative on millet.
During a break, Prof Watanabe exchanged views on food security and the possibility of future collaboration with delegate heads from G20; invited countries; and other international organizations, including Brazil, India, Indonesia, Japan, the US, Singapore and OECD. In a meeting with Brazil's Vice Minister, Secretary of Trade and International Affairs, Roberto Perosa, Prof Watanabe spoke of ERIA’s past contributions to G20 and proposed support for Brazil's G20 Presidency. Both sides agreed to continue communication on the scope of collaboration.
The ERIA delegation also attended several events and discussions during the three-day meeting, including the deputies meeting, side event panel discussions, the ministerial breakout session, and an exhibition of agribusiness start-ups. During the side events, the delegates discussed Managing Agribusiness for Profit, People and Plant and Connecting the Digitally Disconnected: Harness the Power of Digital Technologies in Agriculture. Dr Venkatachalam Anbumozhi, Director of Research Strategy and Innovation raised the challenges faced by developing countries in harnessing the full potential of large-scale adoption of digital technologies, including the lack of change in management structure at farmer level, insufficient inter-ministerial collaboration, and the lack of access to finance for women entrepreneurs.
At the conclusion of the three-day meeting, the ministers expressed their deep gratitude to India’s Presidency in stewarding the food and nutrition agenda in 2023, and looked forward to Brazil’s G20 Presidency in 2024. They also adopted an Outcome Document and Chair’s Summary which reiterated their commitment to food security and nutrition for all. The chairman’s statement is available at https://www.g20.org/en/media-resources/documents/doc-outcomes/?
ERIA will continuously address the challenges toward achieving sustainable and resilient agriculture and food security through its research and other activities.