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Delivered by Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana

23 February 2024

ES ESCAP

Excellency Mr. Dhan Bahadur Oli, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary and Permanent Representative of Nepal to ESCAP,

Distinguished participants, colleagues,

I am very pleased to welcome you to this side event on increasing agricultural productivity through testing standards for sustainable agricultural machinery

Starting with the Green Revolution, agricultural machinery has consistently improved the farming process across our region for several decades.

This has brought positive effects on global food security and for farmers, who have witnessed the improvement of working conditions, better livelihoods and increased yields.

However, smallholder farmers in our region still face many challenges, including limited access to resources and technology and vulnerability to climate effects.

Our food systems are facing increased global challenges posed by climate change, the long-term effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the disruption of supply chains due to growing geopolitical tensions.

We must support smallholder farmers to increase productivity and self-reliance. This will not only help us to achieve zero hunger (SDG 2) but also have ripple effects across the SDGs agenda, mitigating climate change impact, promoting economic growth, livelihoods as well as empower rural communities including women farmers.

This is where the development of testing standards for agricultural machinery can provide solutions, facilitating trade and access to sustainable, climate-smart technologies and making a difference for rural communities.

In fact, regional standards provide a common language and a set of guidelines that can help reduce technical barriers to trade, ensure affordability and quality levels, and promote competitiveness and innovation.

ESCAP, through its Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization, or CSAM, has worked for several years with member States to develop standard testing codes for small agricultural machinery, to ensure that smallholder farmers have access to affordable, reliable and environment-friendly machinery that is built to a consistent level of quality, efficiency and occupational safety.

By reducing food loss during harvesting and increasing the productivity of smallholders with efficient machinery, we can help to ensure that they have enough food to help reduce food insecurity and improve the overall health and well-being of rural communities.

By ensuring that agricultural machinery is built to a consistent level of safety and environmental sustainability, we can reduce the impact of farming on the environment, especially by reducing the use of agrochemical inputs.

I am pleased to note that this event is co-organized by Nepal and the Philippines, who have benefitted from and actively contributed to the initiatives of CSAM towards the development of harmonized regional testing codes for agricultural machinery.

Their experiences and achievements in governance and research, together with those of the other countries represented at today’s event, are a testimony to the importance of regional cooperation in the agriculture sector, even among countries with diverse geography and climate.

ESCAP, through CSAM, stands fast to support the capacity of member States for testing agricultural machinery to improve the productivity of their agriculture sector.

We will also continue to work with you for the development and mutual recognition of regional testing standards to enhance trade and availability of safe and efficient agricultural machinery.

By working together on these issues, we can make our region more food-secure and improve the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers.

Thank you very much and I wish you a very successful discussion.

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Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization
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