31 May 2017, Dhaka (ESCAP news) – Experts from 13 countries in Asia and the Pacific convened in Dhaka for the Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM) meeting from 24 to 27 May to develop a set of standards that will help phase out the use of chemicals in rice production, and provide farmers with reliable equipment to cultivate the region’s principle crop.
Despite progress made in recent years towards modernizing production, agriculture still remains one of the most hazardous employment sources in the region due to the use of unsafe and inefficient machinery. The lack of uniform safety standards has also led to major social costs, jeopardizing countries’ efforts in achieving sustainable agricultural development.
To address this issue, the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM), a regional institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP), is implementing the ANTAM initiative which aims at developing a set of harmonized agricultural machinery testing standards across the region.
In response to the needs of participating countries in the region, participants at the meeting in Dhaka unanimously agreed on the technical content of the first edition of the ANTAM Codes for Paddy Transplanters, and updated ANTAM Codes for other machinery including Power Tillers and Misters-Cum-Dusters.
At the meeting, CSAM emphasized the crucial role played by agricultural machinery in doubling agricultural productivity and the income of small-scale farmers, as well as ensuring sustainable food production in the region as envisaged in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. For agricultural mechanization to effectively play this role, farmers need to be able to rely on the quality, efficiency and environmental sustainability of agricultural machinery.
Developed by a pool of regional experts, the Codes draw upon major international standards formulated by the Food and Agriculture Organization, International Organization for Standardization and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and relevant national standards applied in 19 member countries.
The Third Meeting of the Technical Working Groups of ANTAM was organized by CSAM, in collaboration with the Department of Agricultural Extension of the Government of Bangladesh, Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and the Agricultural Machinery Manufacturer & Suppliers Association of Bangladesh.