India and ASEAN countries on Friday agreed to cooperate in agriculture and forestry to tackle challenges of climate change and price volatility, along with seeking intervention for livelihood opportunities, exchange of farm machinery and development of heterotic rice hybrids.

In a joint declaration at the 4th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry here, they also sought cooperation on exchanging expertise as to promote enhanced resilience of natural systems, and improve the adaptive capacities of people to cope with environmental hazards.

“We supported the prioritization of joint collaborative projects in the areas of (i) Agroforestry interventions for livelihood opportunities, (ii) Demonstration and exchange of farm implement and machinery, and (iii) Genetic improvement of parental lines and development of heterotic rice hybrids,” it said.

“We look forward to the implementation of more capacity building programmes in 2018 on the empowerment of ASEAN and Indian women through cooperatives, and managing food security and price volatility”.

As a part of Medium Term Plan of Action for ASEAN-India Cooperation in Agriculture and Forestry for 2016-2020, they said: “We underscore the importance of addressing climate change as it negatively impacts food security.”

The declaration also sought implementation of the 3rd exchange visit for farmers between ASEAN and India in order to provide opportunities for ASEAN and Indian farmers and fishers, including young and women farmers, to learn and develop more efficient farming practices and management skills through information sharing.

The 5th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry will be held in Brunei Darussalam in 2019.

Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Myanmar, Malaysia Laos and Brunei are the members of ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).