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An overview 6th meeting of the Technical Management Committee (TMC)

The 6th meeting of the Technical Management Committee (TMC) was held on October 8-10, 2018, Baku & Lankaran, Azerbaijan.

The following TMC members were present: Dr. Adnan Tulek (Turkey), Mr. Hameed Majeed Radhiwi (Iraq), Dr. Khidhir Abbas Hameed Kirmasha (Iraq), Mr. Abdul Tawab Dalawary (Afghanistan), Dr. Saule Baibossynova (Kazakhstan), Dr. Asanbek Akmataliev (Kyrgyzstan), Dr. Maryam Hosseini (Iran), Dr. Masudjon Sattarov (New introduced TMC member from Uzbekistan) and Mr. Yagub Guliyev (Azerbaijan). Also, Dr. Jahangir Zadeh (H.E. Ambassador of Iran in R. of Azerbaijan) and Dr. Bagheripour (Economic d’affaires of Iranian Embassy), Iranian high rank delegation including: Dr. J. Kouckaki Nejad (vice president of education and research commission of the Iranian parliament; and Dr. Moahmmad Ali Mohammadi (Head, Guilan Budget and Planning Organization); Dr. Jafar Azizi, (Assistant prof., Azad University of Iran) and Mr. Y. Zarei (D.G. of Khosro Parviz Co., an active Iranian private company manufacturer of modern rice machineries) and Prof. Pardha Saradhi Peddisetty from Delhi University and Russian delegation including: Dr. Victor S. Kovalev (Deputy Director of research, All-Russian Rice Research Institute, Russian Academy of Agricultural Sciences) and Dmitriy Pishenko- Head of Seed production and Seed Science Laboratory of All- Russia Rice Research Institute attended this meeting.

The opening ceremony was held in Fizuli Hall at Park INN hotel, Baku, Azerbaijan. Deputy Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, Dr. Seyfaddin Talebov welcomed warmly all participants, Iran Ambassador in Azerbaijan, high rank Iranian delegation, Russian delegation, Dr. Shahdi, head/ coordinator of CWARice and alla TMC members of CWARice from CWA region.

After welcoming the participants, deputy minister spoke on general agricultural situation in the world. He mentioned that “to meet the need of population for food products we have to increase productivity of agricultural crops, as well as profitability of the rice sector and their government intends to develop non-oil sector of the economy which the agricultural sector assumes importance. The paddy occupies the 3rd place by area after maize and wheat. In the 1930s, the paddy occupied more than 50 thousand ha in the country. The few years ago its area even fell under 1000 ha. Currently the area sown to rice is 5300 ha”. He also talked about the state program for development of rice production for the years of 2018-2025, which was adopted by the government recently. While thanking to government attention and care to rice sector, he added total rice production increased up to 16000 thousand tons in 2017 and this is not enough against 40 000 tons which is annual demand of the country for rice. So, he emphasized on the importance of CWARice assistance via its consulting role to develop rice production of Azerbaijan. In the end, he expressed his hope for contribution of CWARice in strengthening rice development in CWA region and wished success in the 6th meeting of TMC.

At the next part, Dr. V. Babayev, D. G. of Agrarian Science and Innovation Center of Azerbaijan (ASICA) addressed welcome message to all participants. After welcoming the meeting participants, he emphasized the importance of agriculture in the economy of Azerbaijan stating that it is main source of employment in rural areas which contributes to improvement of social welfare of rural population. He talked about the actions taken recent years to increase production of rice in the country and meet needs of population for rice on account of domestic production. One of such actions, he mentioned, is the state program for development of rice production for the years of 2018-2025. The objective of the state program, he stressed, includes reaching self-sufficiency level in rice production, to tackle development of rice processing facilities, develop new high yielding rice cultivars resistant to diseases and pests, as well as develop rice seed production. One of possible solutions of problems in rice production is collaboration with international and regional rice centers, including CWARice, he mentioned. “Agrarian Science and Innovation Ceneter is collaborating with CWARice since the date of its establishment”, he emphasized. Dr. Babayev noted that the Center is collaborating with CWARice in exchange of genetic materials, in staff training, in technology transfer and variety testing. Finally, he spoke about 5-year work plan developed by CWARice and expressed his readiness to participate in the program. Finally, he wished success in the work of 6th TMC meeting.

Dr. Shahdi, head of CWARice opened meeting with his message including mission of CWARice, role of TMC members and main issues to be discussed at 6th TMC meeting. He extended his deep appreciation to honorable Minister of Agriculture of Azerbaijan, Dr. Inam Karimov for supporting the efforts to further develop regional cooperation on rice sector and his encouragement provided for this meeting. He also appreciated the invaluable logistical and technical supports provided by many staff members of the Ministry of Agriculture of Azerbaijan & Agrarian Science and Innovation Center of Azerbaijan including Mr. Sefaddin Talebov, Mr. Vugar Babayev, Mr. Imran Jumshudov, Mr. Javanshir Talaei, Mr. Nihat Mammadi, Mr. Yagub Guliyev and other respected staff. He also mentioned that TMC members also can identify regional and national donors to make a strong linkage between their national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) and CWARice plans for CWA region.

He emphasized that by pursuing regional cooperation, enhancing existing relations and strengthening scientific-technical ties among the CWA countries, CWARice is committed to the best in rice research & development now and into the future. In fact, Coordination, Cooperation & Partnership (C.C.P.) are the main drivers for reaching CWARice’ s vision of success and regional center will provide a new umbrella for strengthening and expanding partnerships among CWA countries.

Dr. Shahdi mentioned some main points based on 5-year program of CWARice for 2018-2022 covering projected research, training and development activities of CWARice according to member countries needs in rice sector. He reminded that “to reach our high aims in CWA region, CWARice is delighted to accept all activists in the field of rice research, education, production, trade and industry, including professors, researchers, policy makers, leading producers, active NGOs and private companies, under terms of responsibility to collaborate as the Honorary Members. CWARice is identifying and organizing regional rice activists network in CWA region to expand the participation of a wider range of actors and beneficiaries from public and private sectors in member countries.”

Dr. J. Kouchaki Nejad and Dr. Mohammadi talked about supporting role of I. R. of Iran to the CWARice. They stated that” I.R. Iran as the host of CWARice already has good support for setting up infrastructure for CWARice and approval of the separate credit funding code for the center, as well as providing remarkable financial resources and logistic support. It would be pleased to present its all relevant scientific capacities and potentials for success of this regional center”. They asked other countries in the region proportionally to help the center for achieving its planned goals in the region. They introduced CWARice actions as a common platform for knowledge and technology exchange, promotion of capacity building and rice research, development and multilateral cooperation. CWARice will provide scientific assistance for attaining the anticipated goals with active contributions of regional countries as well as seeking other funding channels in regional and international organizations such as ECO, IDB, and…

Dr. Kouchaki Nejad announced that “CWARice accomplished very successful activities since its establishment to the benefit of all its member countries. While his meeting with IRRI authorities in Dec., 2017, he has witnessed sincere admiration of International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)’s D.G. to CWARice astonishing performance under Dr. Shahdi’s leadership by his related innovations. IRRI eagerly would like to technically support CWARice in line with its 5- year work plan for CWA region.

Dr. Kouchaki Nejad finally hoped that all respected governments of member countries support CWARice along with Iran as host country to develop rice production in CWA region.

Dr. Mohammadi also remarked that “CWARice became a well- recognized scientific, education and development center on rice. It has attained of cooperative entity ensuring the food security of not only CWA countries but also the world. Owing to the key objectives of sustainable food security which are internationally agreed upon, ministry of agriculture and I. R. of Iran supported this mission a long with Guilan province”. He further stressed that for achieving CWARice goals, it requires real participation and cooperation of all member countries in providing both human and financial resources. Their speech followed by Prof. Saradhi on reviewing CWARice capabilities and its advantages for CWA countries.

The technical session of 6th TMC meeting was started at 11:30 a.m. and chaired by Mr. Yagub Guliyev as president of 6th TMC meeting. Members were updated on the outcome of the last held in Rasht, Iran. The agenda of 6th TMC meeting was overviewed by Mr. Guliyev.

Dr. Shahdi presented the progress report on activities accomplished by CWARice during Sept., 2017-Sept., 2018.

TMC members also reported on feedback of CWARice activities: training courses & research projects on their rice sector, current status of concerned countries’ rice sector and following up actions by them. All TMC members once again supported 5-year program of CWARice.

The second part of Dr. Shahdi’s presentation was about future plans based on 5-year program of CWARice complied for rice sector of CWA region, IRRI feedback on it and etc. Coordinators’ speech for future programs includes main items as below:

• Advanced actions on: A Multilocation Evaluation and Research Network for Genetic Enhancement in Central and West Asia (EMERGE-CWA)

• Central and West Asian Rice Activists Network (CWARAN)
  - Central and West Asian Agricultural-Rice Development Industry Fund (CWARif)
  - Central and West Asian Rice Regional Knowledge & Industry Center (CWARkic)

• Establishing a Genebank for Rice Germplasm Conservation in CWA region

• Online Rice Supply using Electronic Marketing System in CWA(CWARem)

• Establishing network of Rice Regional Mechanization Network for CWA (RMN-CWA)

• Direct Seeded Rice Consortium (DSRC), an IRRI-CWARice Partnership

• AgroEcoTourism for CWA countries to contribute at developing rural industry and economy in CWA by rice production sustainability

At the business meeting, Dr. I. Jumshudov, Head of the State Service for Registration of Plant Varieties and Seed Control, Azerbaijan Miistry fo Agriculture thanked very much Dr. Shahdi for his great efforts for rice sector of Azerbaijan and CWA region. Mr. Javanshir Talaei requested long term courses including seed production course to be held for CWA countries by CWARice & RRII.

At the 6th TMC meeting, representatives of active rice R & D private sector including: GBC Co., M.G.M. Co., Astaracay Co.,(Azerbaijani Co.s) and Iranian private company , KHp Co. participated all parts of meeting. Mr. Farid Akhundov, D.G., M.G.M. Co. explained about mission of his company and their undergoing project: Rice value added project in Lankaran. He welcomed accomplishing great initiative of Dr. Shahdi on establishing Central and West Asian Agricultural-Rice Development Industry Fund (CWARif) by Azerbaijan and other countries. He added benefits of this project for member countries and development of their rice sector.
CWARice head/coordinator reiterated on TMC members’ role on greater involvement of their local private sectors and also he requested them to report on this matter after 6th TMC meeting to get targeted aims at 7th TMC meeting.

Field Visit:
The second part of the meeting was culminated with visit to rice fields in Lankaran and to rice processing facilities of three private companies including: CƏNB AGRO, Green East and Kosroparviz on 8 Oct., 2018.

Vote of thanks:
Dr. Shahdi and the members of TMC acknowledged with thanks and appreciation the full support of the officials and staff of the government of Azerbaijan and the Agrarian Science and Innovation Center of Azerbaijan led by Dr. V. Babayeva and Mr. Y. Guliyev.