New Delhi, Nov 6: Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the first ever International Agro-biodiversity Congress, IAC in  Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi today. The event was attended by 900 delegates from 60 countries. The event helped to initiate and encourage a dialogue among stakeholders, including farmers. Addressing the event, Modi said, “Nature was entwined with the society and its rituals by our ancestors. That way nature sustained and survived.” Talking about the issues faced in today’s habitat, he said, This is the time we have to change the way of thinking, now is the time to preserve the agro-biodiversity and its inhabitants. Every country needs to learn from other countries in the World. Research needs to be done and best practices need to be noted and curated.” He also said that research in agro-biodiversity is very important to ensure global food, nutrition and environment security.

The event is a way to better understand everyone’s role in agro-biodiversity management and the conservation of genetic resources. The conference which will be held from November 6 to 9, is being organised by the Indian Society of Plant Genetic Resources and Biodiversity International, a CGIAR Research Centre headquartered in Rome, Italy.

The Congress also shed light on how conserving agro-biodiversity can lead to its sustainable use for food. It explained how nutritional security of ever-increasing world population can be solved through this method. Discussion on threats imposed by climate change and ways to achieve sustainable agriculture production were also discussed. India is one of the mega-diversity centres possessing unique crop and animal diversity. (ALSO READ: Narendra Modi says, Development only way to solve India’s problems)

Talking about the event, M S Swaminathan, an eminent scientist on Saturday said, “Biodiversity conservation has become important. The status in our country is not satisfactory. We will have to do much more,” said M S Swaminathan, an eminent scientist. It is the duty of every nation to conserve biodiversity.”

Agrobiodiversity includes all species that are closely woven in an agricultural ecosystem. It is defined as the variety and variability of animals, plant and micro-organism that are used directly or indirectly for food and agriculture.

An Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) release on the event read “India is the perfect venue for the first-ever International Agrobiodiversity Congress as it is one of the most diverse countries in the world. It takes up only 2.4 per cent of the world’s land area and yet it harbours 7-8 per cent of all recorded species, including over 45,000 species of plants and 91,000 species of animals.”