The APAARI Executive Committee meeting was held at the National Agriculture Science Center (NASC) Complex, Pusa, New Delhi, India on 12 March, 2012 under the chairmanship of Dr. S. Ayyappan, Secretary, DARE & Director General, ICAR and Chairman, APAARI. The meeting was attended by 12 persons including Executive Committee members, special invitees and observers. At the outset, Dr. Raj Paroda, Executive Secretary, APAARI welcomed the Chairman and other APAARI members, special invitees and observers for their participation. He specifically thanked Dr. Abd. Shukor Abd. Rahman, former Chairman of APAARI, for his help and guidance and Dr. Simon Hearn for continued funding support by ACIAR. Dr. Paroda expressed his appreciation for all Executive Committee members, CG Centers and other stakeholders for their support.
Dr. S. Ayyappan, in his Chairman’s address, appreciated the remarkable progress made by APAARI in collaboration with its member organizations and with the support of GFAR, FAO, ACIAR, COA, and CG Centers. He mentioned that APAARI, through regional and inter-regional partnerships with FAO, GFAR, IFPRI, ASTI and SPC, organized several collaborative activities. ICAR was privileged to co-organize with APAARI the Global Conference on Women in Agriculture. He felt confident that APAARI would strive to fulfill its commitment of assisting NARS to reap the benefits of AR4D in the region. On behalf of APAARI, he also appreciated the support of its members and strong partnership of GFAR, FAO and CG Centers in effectively implementing its programs.
Dr. Paroda presented the action taken report based on the recommendations of the previous Executive Committee Meeting and the progress made during the period. He mentioned that four expert consultations/workshops/dialogues on diverse topics of regional importance were organized during the period under report. He further mentioned that several publications were brought out and also posted on APAARI/APCoAB websites. He also emphasized that regional workshops/consultations are planned to be organized on: i) climate-smart agriculture, ii) improving wheat productivity, iii) policy dialogues on need assessment on AR4D in Bangladesh, India and Nepal, and iv) global conference on women in agriculture. He informed that Indian Agricultural Universities Association (IAUA) has upgraded its membership to become an Associate Member.
The total number of APAARI members now stands at 56 (Regular members-20, Associate members-17, Affiliate members-11, Reciprocal members-8).
The Audited Accounts for the period January – December 2011, the statement of Assets and Liabilities and Certificate of Auditor and Bank Statements were scrutinized and approved unanimously. The Executive Committee members appreciated efficient management of accounts. APAARI Budget for 2012 was also reviewd by the Executive Committee and approved. The Executive Committee decided that the post of Executive Secretary could be announced and circulated widely to invite applications by 31 July, 2012.
During the discussions, the following suggestions and comments emerged:
a) Dr. Simon Hearn emphasized the need for greater emphasis on impact assessment studies. He desired to devise ways and means to ensure high impact from returns on R&D investments and suggested for organizing workshops on impact assessment.
b) Dr. S. Ayyappan highlighted the need for investing more on research and the policies and also that the technologies should be outscaled. He also emphasized that the activities on animal and fish programs need to be enhanced.
c) Dr. Abd. Shukor Abd. Rahman mentioned that issues relating to poverty, lack of food, nutrition security and nutritional imbalance, and research on underutilized crops need to be addressed adequately in the research and development agenda.
d) Dr. Raj Paroda emphasized particularly the need to focus on: (i) characterization, conservation and use of genetic resources, (ii) in situ conservation and (iii), underutilized crops
e) Dr. Mark Holderness suggested that there should be greater flexibility for maintaining the reserve fund, as is done in case of GFAR.
f) Dr. Raj Paroda clarified that flexibility with GFAR is due to good donor support where as the APAARI funds are mainly based on membership fee which does not vary much. Hence, the reserve of US $ one million is a self-imposed restriction agreed by the members for future sustainability of APAARI.
g)Dr. Tashi Samdup asked about the source of funding to undertake the activities proposed in APAARI Work Plan for 2012. Dr. Raj Paroda clarified that GFAR support will be used for this purpose. Also for organizing the GAM, there is a provision that 10 members are supported by the host country. Moreover, efforts will be made to seek co-sponsorship for proposed activities and additional funding is expected from GFAR for the second half of 2012.
h) Dr. Simon Hearn mentioned that APAARI is closely working with CRPs and enquired whether APAARI’s interaction with CG Centers is improving. Dr. Raj Paroda clarified that APAARI’s interaction is invariably good with many CRPs, while it is not so with others.
The Chairman in his concluding remarks summarized the decisions taken in the meeting. He reiterated the need to implement the decisions expeditiously by the member organizations and APAARI secretariat. He also suggested to examine the issue of APAARI’s legal status in the host country. He thanked all the members for their active participation and valuable contribution and also appreciated the significant progress made by APAARI. He especially thanked Dr. Paroda for ably spearheading the implementation of planned activities of APAARI and raising the financial status as well as image of APAARI. The meeting ended with a vote of thanks to the Chair.