The 7th Annual Meeting of the Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM) was conducted online for the first time on Thursday 17 December 2020 following three days of informal meetings of the Technical Working Groups (TWGs) that reviewed proposed amendments to the ANTAM Codes on Power Tillers, Paddy Transplanters, and Sprayers. ANTAM testing codes draw upon major international standards and are developed by a pool of regional experts. They represent a joint regional effort involving representatives from the government, research and testing institutes, private sector and manufacturers, and have been recognized as leading practices in South-South cooperation in the UN system.
The annual meeting was organized by the ANTAM secretariat, the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) from its premises in Beijing. Seventeen ANTAM participating countries were connected online, including Bhutan, who joined the Network this year.
The meeting elected Malaysia and China as Chair and Vice Chair, respectively, for 2020-21. In addition to an introductory presentation of Bhutan, the meeting also benefitted from a presentation on the status of agricultural machinery testing Malaysia, as well as from a virtual tour of the China International Agricultural Machinery Exhibition (CIAME). The meeting appreciated and encouraged the development of e-learning and online training modalities by the secretariat. The Italian Association for Agricultural Machinery (ENAMA), as ANTAM Technical Reference Unit, presented some considerations on safety and certifications, which led the meeting to call for the further work on sprayers with particular attention to safety.
The meeting determined next steps for the establishment of a network of testing stations by the end of 2021, which should produce consistent test reports, mutually recognized among participating countries. The mutual recognition of test reports is expected to lead to a unified certification system, which will have to be developed through international instruments, as appropriate, with the support of the secretariat.