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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham, in collaboration with SAARC Countries and Centre on Integrated Rural Development for Asia and the Pacific (CIRDAP), conducted an expert consultation meeting on “Assessment of the Role of Agro-processing as a Key Component of Rural Mass Employment and Rural Development Models” at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham, Coimbatore on 18th-19th August, 2016. The seminar focused on establishing a shared framework for rural development through small-scale agro-businesses.
Members* from the Ministries of 10 countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia attended the seminar. Amrita School of Business, Coimbatore hosted the event.
Welcoming the delegates, Dr. R. Raghu Raman, Chairman, Amrita School of Business, said, “This initiative with SAARC countries and CIRDAP is a part of institution’s roadmap to incorporate the United Nations’ mission on Environment and Development. The trio addressed three main jeopardies of the existing model of development, comprising income inequity, gender inequity, and lack of sustainability. The framework developed will be integrated with the developmental efforts taken by Mata Amritanandamayi Math and Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham.”
Dr. Sankaran K., Registrar, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham was the Chief Guest for the event. He summarized various sustainable developmental activities undertaken by Amrita, as well as the Government, including PURA, Kudumbasree, Amrita SeRVe (Amrita’s program to empower villages), Amrita SREE (Amrita’s Self-reliance program for women).
Dr. Shaikh Mohammad Bokhtiar, Director, SAARC Agriculture Centre (SAC) commented, “Agriculture is the major source of South Asian economy. SAC was established with a primary objective of strengthening the sector by focusing on research and technological interventions in the field, especially by establishing regional networks, providing inputs for developing regional policies and facilitating collaborative studies. This initiative goes in par with SAC’c objectives and I thank you all participants for making this a success.”
In response to the increasing suicide rates among the farmers (in India), Mr. Tevita G. Boseiwaqa Tanginavulau, Director General, CIRDAP highlighted the need to cultivate self-determination in people. “Franklin D. Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Abraham Lincoln all had different styles of leadership. Of all the things that boosted their success, the most important was having self-determination. The will-power of the individuals has to be made stronger.”
Each country member presented his/her country’s agro-processing experiences, discussed the challenges faced and shared the successful research and business models adopted in the respective country. For India, Dr. K. Alagusundaram, DDG (Agricultural Engineering), ICAR, Pusa, New Delhi presented the facts. The members visited the villages near Coimbatore adopted by Mata Amritanandamayi Math to witness the sustainable practices put in place by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapetham.
Mr. Ir. Kristiawan, an entrepreneur from Indonesia (only non-governmental member in the meeting), demonstrated the success of agro-processing in Indonesia through the food materials made from fruits and vegetables including jackfruit, carrot, banana and apple. He educated the members about the machinery available for agro-processing.
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