Representatives of technical cooperation agencies, ministries of agriculture and centers of excellence from Algeria, Hungary, Morocco, Turkey and Uzbekistan exchanged information and views on the successful homegrown solutions in the area of Agricultural Biotechnology, in a workshop organized in Gödöllő, Hungary. They also discussed other aspects of agricultural development contributing to enhanced food security. The workshop was organized to enable partners and organizations in the participating countries from the Arab States, Europe and Central Asia to promote their own methods, whilst also implementing tried and tested experiences from their partners in the Global South.

The three-days Knowledge Exchange workshop was hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary through the National Agriculture Research and Innovation Centre (NARIC), and supported by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), in the framework of the partnership initiative on South-South and Triangular Cooperation for Agricultural Development and Enhanced Food Security (SSTC-ADFS).

Earlier this year, Turkey shared its expertise on farmer-based organizations within the same context. This week Hungary shared its experience on Agricultural Biotechnology with the participants from the Arab States, Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States. The workshop in Gödöllő emphasized the importance of South-South Cooperation in exchange and transfers of the low-cost solutions in the area of Agricultural Biotechnology, and its relevance with the concepts of Pathogen Diagnostics, Genetics, Genomics, Probiotics, Resistance Breeding and Climate Change.

In the opening session, Ms. Katalin Tóth, the Deputy State Secretary from Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary – referred to her previous engagement declared at the South-South Strategic Forum in Macau, end of August 2015 – emphasized the willingness of Hungary to transfer knowledge and experience to other countries. "The evolving situation of Hungary in the field of agriculture allows it to provide advanced knowledge to all countries, especially in the field of agricultural biotechnology" she added. Ms. Tóth stressed also the GMO-free status of Hungary: the national constitution fully prohibits the production of the genetic modified plants.

"Knowledge exchange corridors are at the core of our development model" said Mr. Abdelkarim Sma, the Lead Regional Economist from the Near East, North Africa and Europe Regional Division of IFAD.

The keynote speech of the workshop was held by Dr. Zsolt Feldman, Deputy State Secretary from Ministry of Agriculture of Hungary. He highlighted the important role of the agriculture research and development in the aspect of sustainability and food security.

The workshop included intensive knowledge exchange sessions at Szent István University of Gödöllő as well as a site visit to Hungary’s major institutes on Agricultural Biotechnology, Fruit-culture and Animal Breeding Research. The representatives of the various institutions from Algeria, Hungary, Morocco, Turkey and Uzbekistan also exchanged views and practical recommendations on establishing pilot initiatives on biotechnology and suggested concrete actions in line with their respective national development priorities.

In the past twenty years, many developing countries have accumulated substantial development experience and acquired expertise, know-how and technology which brought about the vast potential of these to be shared with other countries in the South. In that sense, South-South Cooperation is becoming a primary source for intra-regional and cross-regional development.

(Ministry of Agriculture)