At the kind invitation of the Government of Republic of Tunisia, the Secretary General paid a visit to Tunisia that formally commenced on 2-4 May 2017. He called on H.E. Mr. Samir Attaieb, Minister of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries on 2 May 2017 and explained about AARDO’s mandate of South-South cooperation and African-Asian solidarity. He urged upon the Honourable Minister to consider of rejoining to AARDO as distinguished member and derive benefit from AARDO activities to further advance rural development in the country. H.E. Mr. Samir Attaieb evinced keen interest in AARDO activities and assured the Secretary General that the membership of Tunisia in AARDO will be considered. In the meeting, the Director of International Cooperation was also present. The Secretary General presented a set of information literature about AARDO and memento to the Honourable Minister.
In order to acquaint the AARDO Secretary General with the activities of Ministry of Agriculture, Water Resources and Fisheries as well as prevailing conditions in rural areas, a series of meetings and field visits were organized. The first meeting was held on 2 May 2017 within the Ministry where heads of different departments were present who explained in brief about the functioning of their respective departments. The Secretary General also explained the activities of AARDO including HRD programme, Development Pilot Projects, etc. and their benefits for rural Tunisia. This meeting was followed by a visit to the National Institute of Agricultural Research in Tunisia (INRAT) and The Bureau of Livestock and Pasture in Tunis city. These institutions explained about their mandate and current activities under way as well as learnt about AARDO activities.
On 3 May 2017, the Secretary General visited Zaghouan Governorate where he was received by H.E. the Governor. After brief exchange of greetings and information on rural development scenario in the Governorate, the Secretary General proceed to visit women enterprise (aromatic distillation unit), water harvesting project, women empowerment programme and integrated farm development run by an ex- woman employee of the Ministry, and observed their functioning.
The Secretary General visited the following institutions located in the Sidi Thabet and Bizerte Governorates on 4th May 2017: National Institute for Pedagogy and Agricultural Continuous Training, National Veterinary College, Genetic Improvement Institute and High Institute for Maritime and Marine Fisheries. In these institutions, he held discussions with the senior officers to get acquaint with their functioning as well as observed the available lab facilities for research, training, consultancy, etc. The visit concluded with a visit to the ancient Roman water temple from which spring water was transported to Carthage (60 km) in ancient time.
At the kind invitation of H.E. Mr. Faruk Celik, Minister of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Republic of Turkey, the Secretary General attended the Turkey-African 1st Agriculture Ministers Meeting and Agribusiness Forum, held in Antalya, Republic of Turkey on 27-28 April 2017. The Meeting was inaugurated by H.E. Mr. Binali Yeldirim, Prime Minister of Republic of Turkey on 27 April 2017. The inaugural function was attended, among others, by H.E. the President of Somalia and H.E. the President of Guinea, the Term President of African Union, Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Food Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Turkey, and a large number of Ministers from African countries representing portfolios of Agriculture, Rural Development, Livestock, Fisheries, etc. In the afternoon, thematic session on ‘Turkey-Africa Partnership on Rural Development in Achieving Food Security’ was held under the chairmanship of H.E. the Minister of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Turkey. In the session, Honourable African Ministers and representatives of international organizations including AARDO presented their perspectives on agricultural and rural development challenges in Africa.
In addition to the Conference, an international exhibition was held at the same venue in which a large number of companies/organizations/Banks/government institutions participated. Further, B2B programme was concurrently held where representatives from private companies of Africa and Turkey explored business opportunities. On 28th April 2017, eight side events were organized, in addition to the presentations made by national level organizations of Turkey highlighting their contribution in the agriculture and rural development of Africa.
The Secretary General, AARDO met H. E. the Minister of Food Agriculture and Livestock, Government of Republic of Turkey and urged upon him to consider joining AARDO as a distinguished member. He also presented the AARDO memento and set of publications to the Honourable Minister. The Secretary General also met with a number of Ministers and other senior dignitaries of African countries - both members and eligible members and discussed matters of mutual interest. He participated in one of the side events on 'Youth Unemployment and Women in Rural Development in Africa' and presented a paper highlighting the role of AARDO in promoting employment in rural Africa.
At the kind invitation of the International Cooperative Alliance Asia and Pacific (ICA-AP) , New Delhi, the Secretary General attended the 10th Asia Pacific Cooperative Ministers’ Conference on “Visioning Ahead of 2030: Promoting Stronger Partnerships between Government and Cooperative Stakeholders in Realizing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”, held in Hanoi, Socialist Republic of Vietnam from 18 to 21 April 2017. The Conference was organised by the esteemed Ministry of Planning and Business, Government of Vietnam, the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance (VCA), and the ICA-AP.
The Secretary General addressed the Conference during one of the Sessions bringing out the work being done by AARDO in the promotion of cooperatives in its member countries. He also had discussions with some of the participating dignitaries.
He also presented AARDO’s memento and a set of AARDO publications to Mr. Vo Kim Cu President of VCA.
A Hanoi Resolution was presented for adoption at the concluding Session of the Conference.
The 69th Session of the Liaison Committee of AARDO was held on 07th March 2017 at the Conference hall of the AARDO Secretariat, New Delhi under the chairmanship of H.E. Mr. Jagdishwar Guburdhun, GOSK, High Commissioner for the Republic of Mauritius to India, and Hon’ble Chairman of the Liaison Committee. Twenty (20) delegates from fifteen (15) member countries, namely, Republic of China (Taiwan), Arab Republic of Egypt, Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, Republic of Iraq, Republic of Kenya, Republic of Lebanon, Malaysia, Republic of Mauritius, Kingdom of Morocco, Republic of Namibia, State of Palestine, Republic of the Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Republic of Yemen and Republic of Zambia of the Liaison Committee attended the Session. In addition, the senior officials from International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), International Cooperative Alliance – Asia Pacific (ICA-AP) and Indian Council for Food and Agriculture (ICFA) attended the Session as Observers. His Excellency Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO attended the meeting as Member Secretary to the Liaison Committee.
The Secretary General welcomed all the distinguished delegates to the 69th Session of the Liaison Committee and requested the Hon’ble Chairman to preside over the session. Thereafter, the Committee went on to transact the business session by, first of all, adopting the Provisional Agenda. The Committee took note of the follow -up action taken/proposed to be taken by the AARDO Secretariat on the decisions/recommendations of the 68th Session of the Liaison Committee as well as adopted its report. The Committee reviewed the activities of the Organization, membership contribution and member relations for the period, July – December 2016. It also took note of and adopted the projected programmes of AARDO from January to June 2017. The 69th Session of the Liaison Committee decided to hold its next (70th) Session on 24 August 2017 and accordingly approved the list of invitees.
The International Training Workshop on “Achieving Sustainable Development Goals: Financial Inclusion and Rural Transformation” was organised by AARDO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD) during the period from 27 February – 10 March 2017.
The training workshop was formulated with general objective of enhancing capacity of policy planners and financial service providers to ensure financial inclusion in the rural areas for poverty reduction and improving livelihood. The specific objectives of the programme were:
- i. Discuss the relationship between sustainable development goals (SDGs) and rural transformation;
ii. Describe the effects of financial exclusion and the benefits of financial inclusion;
- iii. Identify suitable methods for financial inclusion of the rural people, especially for the excluded population in the country;
- iv. Describe importance and process of the financial inclusion system for attaining SDGs’
v. Design new financial products or services by addressing economic, cultural and structural problems; and
vi. Identify ways to mobilize adequate funds and develop mechanism for inclusion of poor in financial system.
The programme was inaugurated by the Chief Guest H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO on 27 February 2017. Besides the inaugural address of the Chief Guest, the function was addressed by the Special Guests Mr. Ashraful Musadaq, Joint Secretary, Rural Development and Cooperative Division, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and Mr Tivita G. Boseiwaqa Tanginavulau, Director General of the Center for Integrated Rural Development in Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), the Chairperson Mr. Muhammad Maududur Rashid Safdar, Director General, Bangladesh Academy for Rural Development (BARD), the Workshop Coordinator Dr. Swapan Kumar Dasgupta, Director (Training), BARD and the Workshop Director Dr. Kamrul Ahsan, Director (Research), BARD.
The programme was attended by twenty seven (27) participants from nineteen (19) AARDO members, namely, Republic of China (Taiwan), Egypt, Gambia, Ghana, India, Iraq, Republic of Korea, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syria, Zambia, the host country Bangladesh and Korea Rural Community Corporation (KRC) the associate member. Besides, one AARDO official attended the programme.
During the various technical sessions, besides presentation of the keynote paper on “Achieving SDGs: Rural Transformation through Financial Inclusion”, number of expert papers and country reports were presented by the resource persons and participants. The themes of expert papers, among others, included: Paradigm Shift in the Concept of Financial Inclusion for Economic Growth; Measuring Financial inclusion; Financial Inclusion and Rural Women: the Future Challenges; Financial Inclusion through Cooperative Movement: Public Sector Initiative; Mobile Banking; An Innovative System for Financial Inclusion; Financial Services through Postal Department; Challenges of Rural transformation and the IFAD Strategic Framework for Rural Transformation; Stakeholder Analysis for Need-based Financial Inclusion of Rural Poor; BARD Experience on Rural transformation through Financial Inclusion; Microcredit: Bangladesh Experience; Role of Central Bank and Microcredit Regulatory Authority for Financial Service Especially for Rural Sectors; Financing through PKSF: An Innovative Model for Aligning Additional Fund for Financial Inclusion; Financial Inclusion: Experience of BRAC; Micro-Credit to Micro-Savings through Government Grant: A Sustainable Poverty Alleviation Philosophy of the Honorable Prime Minister.
For field visits, the participants were taken to Baleshwar Womens’s Cooperative Society, BRAC Learning Centre and Jagannathpur Village Development Organization (One House One Farm Project). Where the participants interacted with the beneficiaries and got first hand information about the functioning of these projects.
The Valedictory Session of the programme was held on 10th March 2017 under the Chairmanship of Dr. A.K. Shareefulla, Diretor (Project), BARD and Mr. Mohd. Naimuddin, AARDO Representative, was the Guest of Honour in the session.
The Director (training) & Workshop Coordinator, BARD, Director (research) & Workshop Director (BARD) and the Guest of Honour addressed the participants. On behalf of the participants, vote of thank was extended by the participants from Egypt and Nigeria. After distribution of the Certificates of participation and mementos, the programme came to the end with the concluding remarks by the Chairperson.
African-Asian Rural Development Organization (AARDO), in collaboration with the Society for Plant Research (SPR), organized an International Conference on “Technological Advancement for Sustainable Agriculture and Rural Development”(TASARD-India, 2017), at the National Agricultural Science Complex (NASC), Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Government of India, New Delhi, India during 20-23 February 2017. The main objective of the Conference was achieved in the sense that it brought together international scientists, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders to brainstorm on different aspects of Sustainable Agriculture, Biological Sciences and Rural Development.
The Conference was honoured by the august presence of honourable Ministers of Agriculture of State of Palestine and Syrian Arab Republic, and attended by other high level twenty eight (28) delegates from fifteen (15) AARDO member countries, namely, Bangladesh, R.O. China (Taiwan), Ghana, Iraq, Lebanon, Malawi, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Sri Lanka, Syria and Zambia. All together, the Conference was attended by more than 300 eminent scientists, policy makers, practitioners and other stakeholders from Africa, Asia, Europe and USA. The Conference served as a crucial platform to high level dignitaries, leading experts, scientists, resource persons and participants for sharing their rich experiences and brainstorming together with all the delegates on scientific and technological solutions to achieve Sustainable Agriculture & Rural Development.
The Inaugural Function of the Conference was held on 20th February 2017. The dignitaries, H.E. Mr. Sufian A.S. Sultan, Minister of Agriculture, State of Palestine, H.E. Mr. Ahmad Fateh Al Qaderi, Minister of Agriculture and Agrarian Reform, Syrian Arab Republic, Prof R R Hanchinal, Chairperson, Protection of Plant Varieties & Farmers' Rights Authority, New Delhi, Prof. Anton Hartmann, Munchen-Neuherberg, Germany,Prof Rainer Borriss, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany, Prof N S Rathore, Deputy Director General (Education), ICAR, H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO, Prof. M.P. Yadav, Patron, SPR and Former Secretary, NAAS, Prof. R. K. Gupta, President, SPR and Prof. S. K. Bhatnagar, Secretary General, SPR were on the dais and delivered their addresses. A vote of thank was given by Prof. N. K. Tuteja of Amity University.
The Ambassadors and High Commissioners of the AARDO member countries, namely, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Palestine, R. O. China, Syria and Yemen were also present during the inaugural function of the Conference. Further, representatives of other Embassies/High Commissions from AARDO members equally attended the function.
The Conference comprised of 10 technical sessions on: i) Technological Advancement in Agricultural Production System And Value Chain Management; ii) Phyto-Remediation For Health and Environment in Context of Rural Development; iii) Plant Developmental Biology, Metabolomics, Genomics and Proteomics; iv) Plant Microbe Interaction; v) Biotechnology, Transgenic Development; vi) Management of Water Resources; vii) Plant Science Research for Climate and Natural Disaster Management; viii) Natural Resource Conservation, Integrated Rural Development Through Women and Economics of Post Harvest Agriculture; ix) Agri-Business and Non-Conventional Energy, Nano-Science; Geo-Informatics (GIS, GPS, Remote Sensing); and x) Livestock & Agriculture Prosperity. Two special AARDO sessions, namely, Ministers’ Statement on “Agriculture & Rural Development” and AARDO member country reports presentation on “Sustainable Rural Development in African-Asian Regions” were held on 20 and 22 February 2017, respectively.
Besides, four brainstorming sessions on: i) Agriculture and Biotechnology; ii) Post-harvest Technology and Promotion of Entrepreneurship for Agribusiness; iii) Technologies Adaptation by Rural Community, especially Women & Farmers; iv) Role of ICT in Agriculture and Rural Development were organized on 21-22 February 2017.
The Valedictory Session of the Conference was held on 22nd February 2017 under the Chairmanship of Mr. Oomaduth Jadoo, Permanent Secretary, Prime Minister’s Office, (NDU), and President, Executive Committee of AARDO. H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO and Prof. H.S. Gupta were the Guests of Honour in the session. The dignitaries addressed the delegates and distributed the certificates and awards to the young scientists. A vote of thank was extended by Prof. A.P. Garg of SPR.
AARDO, in collaboration with Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP) and Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI), organised, the first ever, the Round Table on “Agricultural Insurance - A Climate Change Adaptation Tool in African, Asian and Pacific Regions” at MARDI, Selangor, Malaysia during 06-10 February 2017.
The Roundtable was attended by a total mix of 34 participants with diverse experiences from 24 AARDO and CIRDAP member countries, namely, Bangladesh, R O China, Fiji, Ghana, India, Indonesia, I R Iran, Jordan, Lao PDR, Lebanon, Malaysia, Mauritius, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Oman, Palestine, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Thailand, Vietnam and Zambia. Besides, four experts, two each from AARDO member countries, namely, Nigeria and Sir Lanka, and two from Alliance Re, Singapore attended the Round Table as facilitators and moderators.
At the inaugural session held on 7th February, while Ybgh. Datuk Dr. Sharif bin Haron, Director General, MARDI welcomed the delegates and guests, addresses were delivered by H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General, AARDO and H.E. Mr. Tevita G. Boseiwaqa Taginavulau, Director General, CIRDAP. The Roundtable was officially opened by Ybhg. Dato' Azizan bin Mohammad Sidin, Deputy Secretary General, Ministry of Rural and Regional Development (KKLW), Government of Malaysia. The opening session was graced by various dignitaries including Diplomats of some of the participating countries stationed at Kuala Lumpur as well as the authorities of MARDI.
To highlight the status of agri-insurance in the African Asian and Pacific regions, three keynote presentations were delivered during the business sessions by experts from Nigeria, Sri Lanka and Singapore. It set the tone of the Roundtable leading to the country presentations delivered by 22 delegates from both AARDO and CIRDAP member countries. Following the country presentations, the participants were divided into three groups to brainstorm and deliberate on various aspects of agri-insurance in the wake of Climate Change. On 9th February, the Roundtable culminated with a set of recommendations applicable for participating countries of African, Asian and the Pacific regions based on unique mix of their respective varied experiences.
In the valedictory session, the closing remarks were presented by the Chief Guest, Dr. Rozan Abu Dardak, Director, Strategic Planning and Innovation Management Centre of MARDI as well as by the representatives of the Secretary General, AARDO and Director General, CIRDAP respectively. The delegates were awarded certificates of participation by the Chief Guest.
The Indian Council of Food and Agriculture (ICFA) hosted a 15 member high-level delegation from 5 African countries on 22 January 2017. The delegations were from Burkina Faso, Ghana, Senegal, Uganda and Zambia. In addition, two members from Michigan State University and officials from ICFA attended the meeting.
The meeting was organised in collaboration with Michigan State University, United States of America with the objective of showcasing the technical knowhow and expertise available in India in the field of agriculture, food security, and food safety and to explore the possibility of its transfer to participating countries in Africa.
On the kind invitation of ICFA, H.E. Eng. Wassfi Hassan El-Sreihin, Secretary General attended the meeting and briefed the delegations about AARDO and its activities.
The 68th Session of AARDO Executive Committee was held at Westin Hotel, Dhaka on 19-21 January 2017 at the kind invitation of the esteemed Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh. 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. Eleven, out of thirteen members of the Executive Committee attended the session. 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. Khandker Mosharraf Hussain, MP, Minister of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives, Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Chief Guest, in the presence of H.E. Mr. Mohd. Mashiur Rahman Ranga, MP, Minister of State, Ministry of Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives. After the Inauguration, the Hon’ble Ministers, delegates and other guests opened the exhibition on “Rural Technology Fair” at the venue of the Executive Committee meeting.
After adoption of the Provisional Agenda, the major approvals accorded by the Executive Committee, among others, included Review of Activities, Member Relations, Membership Contribution and Income and Expenditure including report of the Auditor’s for the year 2015. The Committee ratified two (2) Memoranda of Understanding that AARDO signed with other organizations. It approved the proposal for scale of membership contribution for full and associate eligible countries/organizations from African-Asian and outside regions. The Committee also approved the proposal from the Secretariat for raising the additional funds through special services. The revised scale of salaries of locally recruited staff of the Organization were also approved by the Executive Committee.
The Executive Committee approved follow-up actions taken by the AARDO Secretariat on the decisions/recommendations of the 67th Session of Executive Committee and 67th and 68th Sessions of the Liaison Committee. It approved and adopted the final reports of the 67th and 68th sessions of the Liaison Committee. The Committee decided to hold its next two (69th & 70th) Sessions at the venue of the 19th General Session of AARDO Conference in Malaysia in first quarter of 2018.
The delegates had the opportunity to visit Panjankhara village in Manikganj Sadar, Upzila to observe the ongoing rural development projects such as Ektee Bari Ektee Khamar (One House One Farm), Integrated Water Management Project and Community based Bio-gas Project of RDA. The delegates observed the functioning of these projects and interacted with the beneficiaries. An interesting feature of the projects was large number of women beneficiaries.