Agriculture ministers from BRICS (2017) countries underlined cooperation and the importance of food security on the 7th meeting ended last Saturday in China. The ministers agreed to promote multilateral coordination and guard against protectionism, according to the final declaration, a blueprint for future cooperation. Brazilian Agriculture minister, Blairo Maggi, highlighted the commitment of Brazil’s agricultural influence to intensify trade within the countries that belong to the bloc.
Since its inception, the BRICS countries have expanded their agenda to include several global concerns including agriculture, outer space, social welfare, internet security, science and technology and security among others. In the agriculture group, Brazil is responsible for food security.
Agriculture remains an important developmental agenda for these nations. These meetings are important in addressing agricultural technology through information exchange systems, reducing effects of climate change on the wanting food security, the adaptation of agricultural sector to such climatic variations, promotion of trade and investment and finally ensuring availability of food to the vulnerable populations (Lifang, 2017).
After three days meeting, the agriculture representatives of the nations pointed out the crucial nature of economic, social and environmental support in ensuring food security. What was striking at this seventh meeting was the proposition and a declaration at multilateral trade promotion and elimination of protectionisms. This declaration is set to act as a blueprint for the endeavors of the nations as it deals with nearly all global issues on agriculture including scientific approach, food security, protection of the environment and resources, support for trade and climate change (Singh, 2017). Additionally, the uniqueness of this meeting was met by the support of the United Nations FAO Regional Director (Asia and Pacific regions) who lauded the bloc for being ahead in the fight against poverty through its leading roles in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals and through compliance with the Paris Climate Accord (Singh, 2017). Additionally, this meeting addressed environmental protection and climate change factors in agriculture.
In fulfilling the visions of BRICS in agriculture, each of the member states plays key roles. One such role is in the combating of the devastating effects of climate change on the agricultural sector. This is achieved in cooperation with one another through sharing information, experience, and technologies aimed at resilience to climate change. Additionally, each nation has an obligation a protecting cultivable land, effective use of water resources in agriculture and ensuring the existence of trade through the elimination of protectionism. Each nation also has a role in ensuring sustainability through working on the vision 2030 sustainable development goals, producing safe and healthy foods for their citizens and consumer protection.
While the nations work jointly to realize economic, political and social changes, individual countries bring different contributions to the table thus contributing to the uniqueness and effectiveness of BRICS. Brazil as an emerging economy has a lot to offer BRICS different from the other member states. To begin with, it has a large land to people ratio with an abundance of natural resources including fresh water and fertile tropical soil and climate that can boost the agricultural potential to help in the food security agenda.
“Currently, 61% of Brazilian territory is of native vegetation, counting the conservation areas, the indigenous areas and the areas that, by law, the rural producer is obliged to keep untouched”, reinforced Mr. Blairo Maggi.
Being the largest producer of beef and soy, Brazil has a lot of agricultural products to offer. Additionally, the management of the vast Amazon by the Brazilian government is central to environmental conservation (Pereira, 2013). Even though the nation has a lower economic growth rate compared to the other BRICS members, it has a little economic inequality and provides a better market for agricultural and other products from the emerging economies.
Beyond that, Brazil exercises an important role as a strategic partner in Latin America. “China hopes that Brazil will play a positive role in China-Latin America cooperation”, Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said during the meeting with Brazilian Foreign Minister Aloysio Nunes.
There is still a lot to be done but the foundations are being built for greater cooperation and encouragement to trade among the BRICS countries. A group that represents currently more than 42% of the world population.
Mr. Blairo Maggi
Pereira, A. (2013). Does Brazil deserve its B for BRICS?. Retrievd from http://edition.cnn.com/2013/06/03/business/opinion-pereira-brazil-bric-economies/index.html
Lifang, S. (2017). BRICS agriculture ministers highlight cooperation, food security. Retrieved from http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2017-06/17/c_136373331.htm
Singh, Y. (June 2017). BRICS WELL PLACED TO HELP ERADICATE POVERTY: UN OFFICIAL. Retrieved from http://www.outlookindia.com/newsscroll/brics-well-placed-to-help-eradicate-poverty-un-official/1078528