10 June 2022, China: The 12th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture was held via video link on June 8. With the theme of “strengthening BRICS cooperation for coordinated agriculture and rural development”, the Meeting carried out profound exchanges on deepening practical cooperation in agriculture and rural development, highlighting the importance of ensuring global food security and reducing poverty, among others.
The Meeting reviewed and adopted a joint statement of BRICS agriculture ministers and a document on BRICS food security cooperation strategy. Tang Renjian, Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the People’s Republic of China delivered a keynote speech at the Meeting, which was also addressed by ministers of agriculture of Brazil, Russia, India and South Africa.
Minister Tang pointed out that the Chinese government has attached great importance to agricultural and rural development, pushed forward rural revitalization with concerted efforts and accelerated agricultural and rural modernization. In particular, China has taken extraordinary measures in the extraordinary times of pandemic to address severe challenges posed by the COVID-19 outbreak and natural disasters. It is notable that China has managed to ensure enough food for over 1.4 billion people through its own efforts, making a contribution to global food security. In poverty alleviation, China has established a dynamic monitoring and assistance program to prevent the return to poverty. People who may fall back to poverty are included in the program and provided with targeted relief assistance. In order to consolidate the outcome of poverty alleviation, China has placed priorities in rural development, construction and governance with continuous efforts in advancing rural revitalization and creating favorable environment for living and working in rural areas.
In response to the current challenges of global food security, Minister Tang put forward three proposals. First, BRICS countries need to focus on food security and poverty alleviation, strengthen knowledge sharing and technical exchanges in agricultural production, technical innovation, smallholder development and rural public works and deepen agricultural cooperation, so as to make a “BRICS contribution” to global food security. Second, BRICS should uphold the multilateral trading system based on WTO rules, increase policy alignment in agricultural trade and explore a sustainable matching-making system for supply and demand, in order to ensure a smooth circulation of agricultural products, inputs and other bulk commodities. With greater economic connectivity and win-win solutions, BRICS will provide a sound momentum for economic recovery in the post-pandemic era. Third, BRICS countries should expand their partnerships and tap the potential of cooperation with international community. In particular, BRICS should strengthen multi-bilateral agricultural cooperation with more developing countries and international organizations under the BRICS mechanism, and provide “BRICS solutions” to global food and agriculture governance.
The Meeting, chaired by Ma Youxiang, Vice Minister of Agriculture and Rural Affairs of the PRC, also witnessed the opening of a concurrent symposium on BRICS rural development and poverty alleviation. The attendees shared their good practices with an aim to build consensus, tap cooperation potential and seek solutions to address challenges and achieve the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Attendees addressing the opening ceremony of the 12th Meeting of BRICS Ministers of Agriculture included: BRICS ministers of agriculture; Mr. Zhao Yide, Governor of Shaanxi Province; Mr. Jamshid Kuchkarov, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economic Development and Poverty Reduction of Uzbekistan; Mr. Liu Huanxin, Head of the National Rural Revitalization Administration (Keynote Speaker). In addition, a number of diplomats of developing countries and representatives of BRICS universities and enterprises as well as international institutions and organizations also participated in the exchanging activities.
The Meeting also announced the establishment of a BRICS forum on agriculture and rural development as a new institutional platform to further exchanges and cooperation among BRICS countries.