Experts Discuss Global Agriculture Priority Issues at G20 MACS

Bali – As part of Indonesia’s G20 Presidency, Agriculture Ministry held the 11th Agricultural Chief Researcher Meeting in Bali, Indonesia, July 5–7. The G20 Meeting of Agricultural Chief Scientists (MACS) is conducted by the Agriculture Working Group (AWG) which comprises experts from member countries. The MACS which carried the theme “Sustainable Intensification to Meet Food Security and Environmental Objectives” was the first AWG-G20 offline activity event this year.

The G20 MACS annual meeting was initiated by G20 Agriculture Ministers to address specific issues and central questions in the fields of agriculture and nutrition which needed a joint effort to be resolved. It aimed to strengthen the coordination of agricultural research systems in G20 countries and seek as well as implement joint solution strategies.

G20 members recognized that agricultural research, technology, and innovation played a vital role in supporting better productivity and production, nutrition, and the environment. Any success in approach and implementation in each country needed to be shared among G20 members as a common solution.

Fadjry Djufry, Head of the Agricultural Research and Development Agency, served as the 11th MACS chair accompanied by Husnain, M.P., M.Sc., Ph.D. and Ir. Syafaruddin, Ph.D. as co-chair. Meanwhile, Dr. Haris Syahbuddin, DEA., Secretary to the Agricultural Research and Development Agency, served as the head of the Indonesian delegation.

At the meeting, experts from G20 member countries, invited countries, and international institutions discussed four priority issues on global agriculture proposed by Indonesia, namely post-COVID-19 pandemic food security policy; climate-resilient agriculture; food loss and waste (FLW); and digital agriculture and traceability.

Fadjry explained that the agricultural sector was proven to be able to respond positively to the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, but there was an urgent need to discuss and design optimal supply chains, both on local and global scales.

Climate change was also one of the issues raised at this meeting. Agriculture Minister Syahrul Yasin Limpo paid special attention to this issue. On various occasions, Minister Syahrul underlined the importance of adaptation to climate change, for instance by intensifying sustainable agriculture.

Sustainable use of natural resources in the production system to achieve long-term productivity needs to be supported because agriculture is a vulnerable sector and contributes to climate change. It is essential to continue and strengthen global research cooperation in exchanging research, knowledge, and innovation for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

By the times, the application of digital agriculture is unavoidable, especially in improving the food system framework. Digital agriculture has the potential to improve agricultural productivity, cost efficiency, market expansion, and environmental benefits through the optimized use of resources.

Digital traceability can be the key factor in a risk-based food safety approach, particularly in providing information to consumers, leading to safer and more sustainable food systems. “We encourage capacity building through training and research collaborations to improve the use and application of agricultural technology and digital traceability,” Fadjry concluded.

On the third day, a field visit to Subak Jatiluwih was held as a part of the event. Subak, local wisdom owned by the farming community, in Bali is an organization that specifically regulates the management of irrigation systems of rice fields.

In this meeting, G20 MACS delegates shared experiences and best practices from their respective countries and stated they would strengthen international research cooperation related to the four topics above. The meeting closed with remarks from India’s representative who will be the G20 Presidency in 2023.

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