Opening Remarks by Dr. Ravi Ratnayake
Policy-makers from 14 countries across the Asia-Pacific region pledged their support to a regional network to facilitate trade in safe, efficient and environmentally friendly agricultural machinery at the Regional Policy-makers¡¯ Roundtable on the Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM) held on 18 November 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand. The launch of ANTAM marks pioneering efforts of CSAM to promote sustainable agricultural mechanization across the region in close collaboration with FAO, UNIDO, OECD and ENAMA/ENTAM (European Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery).
ANTAM, an open regional network, is composed of national testing stations of agricultural machinery of participating countries, research institutes, associations of agricultural machinery manufacturers and farmers organizations with an aim to promote harmonization of testing codes and standards of agricultural machinery applied in the region that address quality, performance, occupational safety and environmental sustainability of agricultural machinery. The Secretariat of ANTAM is based at CSAM.
Due to current varying levels of agricultural mechanization in the region, ANTAM will adopt phased action plans to deliver outcomes at different stages tailored to the demands of participating countries with immediate focus on capacity building, and information and technology sharing.
¡°ANTAM is the first step in the right direction to promote regional efforts in sustainable agricultural mechanization for the benefit of the entire Asia-Pacific region,¡± said Dr. Ravi Ratnayake, Director of Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP. The launch of ANTAM is a milestone event in the Asia-Pacific region to increase safety, quality of agricultural machinery, facilitate trade by increasing market access and increase consumers¡¯ confidence in agricultural machinery produced in this region, said Mr. Hiroyuki Konuma, Assist Director General and Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific of FAO.
Due to rapid mechanization of the agricultural sector to meet the increasing demand for more and better food, developing countries are expected to account for more than 50 percent of the global sales of agricultural machinery by 2015.
The first annual meeting of ANTAM is scheduled to be held in the first half of 2014.