The 19th General Session of AARDO Conference was held at Hotel Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur on 01-03 March 2018 at the kind invitation of the esteemed Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia. The Conference was attended by eighteen (18) member countries, namely, (i) People’s Republic of Bangladesh, (ii) Republic of China (Taiwan), (iii) Arab Republic of Egypt, (iv) Republic of Ghana, (v) Republic of India, (vi) Republic of Lebanon, (vii) Malaysia, (viii) Republic of Mauritius, (ix) Kingdom of Morocco, (x) Republic of Namibia, (xi) Sultanate of Oman, (xii) Islamic Republic of Pakistan, (xiii) State of Palestine, (xiv) Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, (xv) Republic of the Sudan, (xvi) Syrian Arab Republic, (xvii) Republic of Tunisia and (xviii) Republic of Zambia. Besides, one eligible member country, namely, Kingdom of Cambodia, three (3) International Organizations namely, (i) Asian-African Legal Consultative Organization (AALCO), (ii) Developing-8 Organisation for Economic Cooperation (D-8) and (iii) International Tropical Fruits Network (TFNet) and representatives of Two (2) regional offices of AARDO for the Far East, R. O. Korea and Middle East, Jordan attended the Conference as Observers. His Excellency Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO attended the Conference as Member Secretary to the Conference.
The Conference was inaugurated by H.E. Y B Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia and the Chief Guest. The Inauguration was followed by opening of the exhibition in which various Malaysian agencies working in the field of food processing, handicrafts, rural tourism, etc., participated. The AARDO Secretariat too participated in the exhibition by displaying its various technical publications, posters as well as screening of AARDO profile.
The Conference commenced its session under the presidentship of H.E. Mr. Jagdishwar Goburdhun, GOSK, representative of the Hon’ble President of AARDO and High Commissioner of the Republic of Mauritius to India. After adoption of the Provisional Agenda, H.E Y B Dato’ Sri Ismail Sabri bin Yaakob, Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia was elected as the President of AARDO; and Republic of Mauritius and People’s Republic of Bangladesh as the Vice-Presidents of AARDO from Africa and Asia respectively, for the triennium 2018-2020, as recommended by the 69th Session of the Executive Committee. The newly elected dignitaries assumed their offices accordingly. The Conference unanimously elected members of the 19th Executive Committee as follows: (i) Arab Republic of Egypt, (ii) Republic of Ghana, (iii) Republic of Sudan, (iv) Republic of Tunisia, and (v) Republic of Zambia from Africa, and (vi) Republic of India, (vii) Republic of Lebanon, (viii) Sultanate of Oman, (ix) State of Palestine, and (x) Republic of China (Taiwan) from Asia for the triennium.
The AARDO Conference, among others, approved the Member Relations, Budget Estimates and Work Programme for the triennium 2018-2020. It also formally approved the admissions of Republic of Namibia and Republic of Tunisia as full members and Agricultural Bank of Sudan (ABS) as associate member of AARDO.
On 03 March 2018, the delegates had the opportunity to visit Pachitan village ¬¬- 80 kms from Kuala Lumpur – that is well-known for its homestay programme. During the visit, the delegates got a chance to experience and learn a number of things including rubber tapping and oil palm harvesting. The delegates also tried their hand in handicrafts such as batik art painting and wau (kite) making.
The Conference unanimously accepted the offer of the esteemed Government of Republic of Ghana to host its next (20th) General Session in Ghana during 2020, with Republic of Zambia as alternative venue.
The 69th Session of AARDO Executive Committee was held at Hotel Grand Hyatt, Kuala Lumpur on 26-28 February 2018 at the kind invitation of the esteemed Ministry of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia. The session was chaired by the Hon’ble President of the Executive Committee, Mr. Oomaduth Jadoo, Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office (National Development Unit), Government of the Republic of Mauritius. Nine (09), out of thirteen (13) members of the Executive Committee, namely (i) People's Republic of Bangladesh, (ii) Republic of China (Taiwan), (iii) Republic of Ghana, (iv) Republic of India, (v) Republic of Lebanon, (vi) Malaysia, (vii) Republic of Mauritius, (viii) Sultanate of Oman, and (ix) Republic of Zambia attended the session. Besides, the State of Palestine; Regional Offices of AARDO for the Far East, Republic of Korea; for the Middle East, Jordan; and for North and Eastern Africa, Egypt attended the Session as Observers. His Excellency Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO attended the meeting as the Member Secretary to the Committee.
The meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Haji Datuk Ahmad Jazlan Bin Yaakub, Deputy Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia and the Chief Guest.
After adoption of the Provisional Agenda, the Executive Committee unanimously decided to recommend the Hon’ble Minister of Rural and Regional Development, Government of Malaysia as the President of AARDO; Republic of Mauritius as the Vice-President of AARDO from Africa; and People’s Republic of Bangladesh as the Vice-President of AARDO from Asia to the 19th AARDO Conference, for the triennium 2018-2020.
The Executive Committee also approved the Review of Activities, Member Relations and recommended the Budget Estimates and Work Programme for the triennium 2018-2020 to the 19th General Session of AARDO Conference.
The Executive Committee ratified the Memoranda of Understanding signed by AARDO with Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, New Delhi on 30 November 2016, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), Republic of Korea in December 2016 and Rural Development and Cooperative Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Dhaka; and Rural Development Academy (RDA), Bogra on 19 January 2017.
The Executive Committee meeting was concluded on 28 February 2018 with adoption of Summary Report.
At the kind invitation of the Akhtar Hameed Khan National Centre for Rural Development (AHK NCRD), Establishment Division, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO paid a visit to Pakistan from 12 to 15 December 2017 to grace the AARDO-AHKNCRD collaborative International Workshop-cum-Training Programme on "Irrigation System and Water Management”, held at AHKNCRD, Islamabad. Mr. Syed Abu Ahmad Akif, Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan graced the inaugural session as the Chief Guest. Among the dignitaries present on the occasion were Ambassadors & diplomats from the participating countries. He also interacted with the participants from member countries.
During the visit, the Secretary General had a meeting with Mr. Muhammad Asghar Ch., Director General, AHK NCRD, and Honorary Regional Representative of AARDO for South and Central Asia, and discussed matters of mutual interest, including activities of the Regional Office.
While in Pakistan, the Secretary General paid courtesy calls on Lt. Gen. Naweed Zaman, Rector, National University of Science & Technology, Dr. Muhammad Azeem Khan, Director General, National Agriculture Research Centre and apprised them of the activities and programmes of AARDO. He met with the Hon’ble Secretary, Ministry of Climate Change, Government of Pakistan and briefed him about the activities of AARDO, besides discussing matters of common concerns.
The Secretary General paid a visit to COMSATS Institute of Information Technology and met with the Rector, Prof. Dr. Raheel Qamar and discussed matters related to reactivating the Memorandum of Understanding signed earlier between them. He also visited the Pakistan Institute for Parliamentary Services and had a meeting with Mr. Zafarullah Khan, Executive Director.
He also met Dr. Zafar Iqbal Qadir, Chairman, Taleem Foundation, Islamabad at the Regional Office and discussed matters of common interests, including implementation of some projects from Taaleem Foundation in an AARDO member country.
The training programme on “Recent Advances in Agricultural Survey: Remote Sensing and GIS Applications” has been organized by AARDO in collaboration with the esteemed Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, at Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute, (IASRI), New Delhi from 22 November to 12 December 2017, under additional technical contribution provided by the esteemed Government of India to AARDO. Nine (09) participants from 09 AARDO member countries, namely, R.O. China (Taiwan), Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Oman, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Zambia attended the programme.
The Inaugural Function of the programme was held on 22 November and graced by Dr. N.S. Rathore, Deputy Director General, Education, Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO and Dr. A.K. Choubey, Director, IASRI who delivered their inaugural addresses. At the function, Dr. Tauqueer Ahmad, Head, Division of Sample Surveys, IASRI and Dr. Prachi Misra Sahoo, Principal Scientist and Course Director, IASRI informed about the background, course contents and field visits of the programme.
During the course of deliberations, the pertinent issues such as Planning and Organizational Aspects of Sample Surveys; National Agricultural Statistics System; Crop Yield Estimation using Crop Cutting Experiments Technique; Remote Sensing Application in Agriculture; Geographic Information System (GIS) & Data Models in GIS; Spatial Data Analysis of Raster & Vector Data; Land Recording System and Crop Production Estimation; Global Positioning System (GPS) and Indian Navigation System; Technology Fusion for Agricultural Surveys and Resource Planning; Applications of Remote Sensing and GIS for Land Use Statistics; Remote Sensing and GIS for Drought Assessment; Applications of Microwave Remote Sensing in Agriculture; Drone Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture; Remote Sensing for Crop Growth and Crop Simulation Modeling; etc. have been addressed by eminent resource persons and faculty of the IASRI.
The field visits to various Institutions and projects such as Demonstration of Crop Cutting Experiment Station; Plant Phenomics Centre; Satellite Data Receiving Station; Forest Research Institute (FRI), Dehradun; National Agricultural Science Museum; Advanced Supercomputing Hub for OMICS Knowledge in Agriculture (ASHOKA), etc., have provided an opportunity to the participants to study and learn from the rich and varied Indian experiences.
The Valedictory Function of the programme was held on 12th December 2017 and graced by Dr. P.S. Pandey, Assistant Director General, ICAR, Dr. Manoj Nardeosingh, Assistant Secretary General, AARDO and Dr. L.M. Bhar, Officiating Director, IASRI. The dignitaries delivered their closing addresses and distributed the certificates of participation and mementoes to the participants. Dr. Tauqueer Ahmad, Head, Division of Sample Surveys, IASRI and Dr. Prachi Misra Sahoo, Principal Scientist & Course Director briefed about the training course and conducted the closing ceremony, accordingly. On behalf of the participants, the participants from Egypt, Sri Lanka and Zambia, Dr. Mohamed Ezzat Abdelhady Khalifa, Ms. Devika Chithranayana Rajapakse and Mr. Joseph Cheelo gave feedback on the programme and shared their experiences respectively. They also extended their gratitude and appreciation to AARDO and IASRI. A vote of thank was given by Dr. Prachi Misra Sahoo, the Course Director.
The organization of the study visits programme, on specific requests from the member countries, to study the achievements of the member countries in pertinent fields is one of the important activities of AARDO. Under this programme, the visiting delegates from the concerned member countries get exposure to the policies/programmes/models undertaken by other member countries.
On the request of the Palestinian Agricultural Disaster Risk Reduction & Insurance Fund (PADRRIF), Ministry of Agriculture, State of Palestine, a study visit on “Agricultural Insurance and Risk Management” for a three member high level delegation from Palestine to India was arranged, in collaboration with the Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India, for a period of one week during 12-18 November 2017.
The delegation was headed by Dr. Nasser Jaghoub, Director General, Palestinian Agriculture Disaster Risk Reduction and Insurance Fund (PADRRIF). He was accompanied by Mr. Iyad Ahmad Ghanim, Director, Compensation Department and Mr. Qais Ahmed Yousef Hantash, Director, Agricultural Insurance Unit, PADRRIF. The main objective of the visit was to study agricultural insurance schemes/programmes in India and derive benefit from their experiences in order to help PADRRIF to formulate its own model, based on local environment and conditions.
During the visit, delegation visited various Institutions/Centres of excellence in Delhi such as National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NIAP); IFFCO Tokyo General Insurance Co. Limited, Gurugram; Regional Office of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog; Agriculture Insurance Company Limited; Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare; and Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA).
The delegation called on the Hon’ble Additional Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India on 14 November where a session was held with high level officials of the Ministry. The delegation also visited AARDO headquarters and had fruitful discussion with H.E. the Secretary General, the Assistant Secretary General, and other Senior Officers of AARDO.
The outcome of the study visit has enabled the delegates to learn from approaches, strategies and policies effectively addressing agricultural insurance and risk management which could be adapted to the Palestinian context. The delegates have acquainted themselves with up-to-date strategies, techniques on crop insurance policies and programmes in India. A report on the visit will be submitted by the delegates and same may equally benefit other member countries.
It is worth mentioning that, during the visits to Ministry of Rural Development and Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, the delegates were accompanied by H.E. Mr. Adnan Abualhayjaa, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to India, the State of Palestine and H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO.
Dr. Manoj Nardeosingh, Assistant Secretary General, AARDO accompanied the delegates during their visits to IFFCO Tokyo General Insurance Co. Limited, Gurugram and NITI Aayog. Dr. Khushnood Ali, Head, Research Division, AARDO coordinated and accompanied the delegates during their visits.
AARDO extends its profound thanks to the esteemed Ministry of Rural Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmer’s Welfare, Government of India, National Institute of Agricultural Economics and Policy Research (NIAP); IFFCO Tokyo General Insurance Co. Limited, Gurugram; the Regional Office of the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD); National Institute for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog; Agriculture Insurance Company Limited; and Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) for their kind cooperation and hospitality extended to the delegates during their visits.
AARDO expresses its gratitude to the esteemed Government of India as it has always been generous in supporting AARDO’s technical and organizational activities.
The above titled training programme was organized by AARDO in collaboration with the esteemed Ministry of Rural Development, Government of India at the Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal, Haryana, India during 10-24 November 2017, under the additional technical contribution provided by the esteemed Government of India to AARDO.
The programme was inaugurated on 10 November 2017 by Dr. P.S. Minhas, Former Director, ICAR-NIASM (National Institute of Abiotic Stress Management), Baramati, Pune, Maharashtra, India. The training programme was attended by 10 participants from 10 AARDO member countries, namely, Bangladesh, Republic of China (Taiwan), Egypt, Jordan, Malaysia, Nigeria, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Syria.
The pertinent issues regarding the sustainable use of water resources were addressed during the course of deliberations by the eminent resource persons and faculty of the CSSRI. The field visits to various institutions and projects provided an opportunity to the participants to study and learn from the rich and varied Indian experiences.
The valedictory function of the programme was held on 24th November 2017 and graced by Dr. Gurbachan Singh, Former Chairman, Agriculture Scientist Recruitment Board (ASRB), New Delhi, H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO and Dr. P.C. Sharma, Director, Central Soil Salinity Research Institute (CSSRI), Karnal. The dignitaries delivered their closing addresses and distributed the certificates of participation to the participants. Dr. R. K. Yadav, Head, Division of Soil and Crop Management, CSSRI and Course Director and Dr. R.L. Meena, Co-Course Coordinator briefed about the training programme and conducted the closing ceremony respectively. On behalf of the participants, Dr. Abul Kalam Sharifullah and Mr. Ammar Mohammed Abdelmajid Hussein from Bangladesh and Palestine respectively gave feedback on the programme and shared their experiences and appreciation of the course. A vote of thank was extended by Dr. Gajender Singh, Co-Course Coordinator, CSSRI.
African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), in collaboration with the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), UN Women (Zambia Office), and Regional Office of AARDO for Southern Africa, Lusaka, Zambia, organized Regional Workshop on above titled theme in Lusaka, Zambia from 6th to 7th November 2017. This Regional Workshop which was equally supported by UN Volunteers, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Global Peace Foundation brought together youth experts from the member States to discuss, inter alia, youth empowerment through entrepreneurship, challenges and capacity building of rural youth and different modalities to implement the COMESA Youth Programme.
AARDO and COMESA common member States are at various stages of youth policy development and implementation, with multiple ambitions, varied approaches, different incentives, and numerous frameworks. Platforms for inter and intra-regional cooperation are crucial to enable sharing of experiences and knowledge, as well as tools and mechanisms, so that stakeholders and partners may together advance inclusive, transparent and responsive youth policies and interventions. Therefore, this collaborative regional workshop has provided a platform to stakeholders for youth empowerment around the COMESA region, to discuss and respond to the key questions outlined in the COMESA Youth Programme and to give a new impetus to evidence‐based, inclusive, participatory and effective youth empowerment policies and interventions, with emphasis on entrepreneurship development, especially in rural areas.
The workshop was attended by 15 senior level participants from seven (07) common member countries of AARDO and COMESA, namely, Egypt, Ethiopia, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Sudan and Zambia.
The Inaugural Function was held on 06 November 2017 and graced by Ms. Agnes Mpundu Musunga, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development, Government of the Republic of Zambia, H.E. Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget, Assistant Secretary General, COMESA and Dr. Manoj Nardeosingh, Assistant Secretary General, AARDO. The Representatives of UN Women, United Nations Volunteers, UNIDO and Global Peace Foundation also attended the inauguration of the workshop.
The workshop provided an opportunity to the resource persons and all the delegates to make presentations and share their experiences on youth programmes in their respective countries and discuss issued such as youth empowerment, policy development, effective implementation, inclusion of rural youth and women in national policies and programmes, youth and rural transformation. It was also a platform to make recommendations towards youth empowerment and entrepreneurship development. It was equally an opportunity to understand the COMESA volunteers’ programme.
During the closing ceremony, held on 07 November 2017, remarks were made by the dignitaries: Mr. Collins Mulunda, Director, Ministry of Youth, Sports and Child Development, Government of Zambia and Honorary Regional Representative of AARDO for Southern Africa, Dr. Manoj Nardeosingh, Assistant Secretary General, AARDO and Mrs. Beatrice S. Hamusonde, Director, Gender and Social Affairs, COMESA. It is believed that this collaborative workshop has enabled the participants to understand more about the cross cutting issues of entrepreneurship development and AARDO and COMESA’s initiatives targeting empowerment of youth and especially creating employment opportunities for rural youth through education, entrepreneurship and innovation. The participants will be able to share these gained knowledge and experiences with the concerned stakeholders in their respective countries for larger benefits.