Minister Senzeni Zokwana and Indian Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Minister Parshottam Rupala held a bilateral meeting in New Delhi, India on 24 January 2019. This bilateral meeting was aimed at strengthening cooperation in the fields of agriculture, forestry and fisheries with focus in the areas of crop and animal production, research, food and nutrition security, agroforestry, aquaculture and agro-processing.


The bilateral meeting was a culmination of technical discussions that occurred at the 4th Joint Working Group on Agriculture between the two countries. Both ministers recognised the importance of agriculture to the economies of their respective countries and committed to continue deepening bilateral trade in agricultural commodities. South Africa gained market access for persimmons and mangoes in 2016 and work is currently at an advanced stage to gain market access for avocados, litchis and pickled sheep and goat skins.


The ministers recognised the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Agricultural Research and Education between the Agricultural Research Council of South Africa and the Indian Council of Agricultural Research in 2018 and urged both institutions to expedite the finalisation of a work plan to outline a programme of action on cooperation in research and education. The areas to be covered in the work plan include crop breeding, silk production, agricultural biotechnology, post-harvest technologies and agriculture education and training.


The ministers also agreed to explore opportunities in the area of the bamboo value chain. Further agreements were made on working together on mutual food and security initiatives directed towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with specific reference to SDG 1 – addressing poverty; and SDG 2 – addressing hunger; and share their experiences in the development of drought resistant varieties and bio-fortified varieties.


Both ministers further noted the importance of the soil-water-energy relationship and committed to intensify initiatives in this nexus to address sustainable agricultural systems. Experiences were shared in extension services on the importance of extension services participation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution to ensure revolutionary agricultural development was emphasised more