BRICS agriculture ministers address food security

Pretoria, Oct 29 (IANS) Agriculture ministers of the BRICS countries met here Tuesday to address the negative effects of climate change on world food security.

The gathering, the third of its kind, will culminate in the signing of a joint declaration which will demonstrate BRICS' determination to meet the challenges confronting food security, Xinhua reported.

BRICS is an acronym for world's major emerging markets, namely, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

"We are required to ensure that the decisions we make today impact positively on the continent and the quality of the land we leave for the next generation and their children," South African Minister Tina Joemat-Pettersson, in charge of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, said at the conference.

"It is my expectation that we will emerge from this meeting with a shared sense that it was instructive, successful and well worth the investment and effort we have made to be here."

Food security is a huge challenge and thus a key priority for the African continent, said Joemat-Pettersson.

She said the meeting would consider and provide leadership on the important matters related to food security.

"Our priority on the continent and in South Africa is to promote sustainable agricultural and food production, which will enable Africa to feed itself and the world," the minister said.

She urged BRICS countries to urgently and significantly accelerate agricultural and food production so that people on the continent can enjoy sustainable access to safe, nutritious and affordable food.

"As we consider 'Negative Effect of Climate Change on World Food Security', we must remain mindful that, with few exceptions, rural women fare worse than rural men and urban men and women against all the Millennium Development Goals indicators," Joemat-Pettersson said.

This includes areas as diverse as agriculture, health, education, paid and unpaid work and social protection.

Attending the meeting are China's Minister of Agriculture Han Changfu, India's Union Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries Sharad Pawar, Brazil's Minister of Agriculture Antonio Andrade Ferreira,; and Russia's Deputy Minister of Agriculture Shestakov Ilya Vasilyevich.

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