Today the World Congress opens in the Vigyan Bhawan complex in New Delhi, with the President of India, the Honourable Shri Pranab Mukherjee, inaugurating proceedings from 12 midday, followed by addresses from Cabinet members including Shri Sharad Pawar, the Minister of Agriculture and Food Processing Industries, Dr M. Veerappa Moily, Minister of Environment and Forest and Shri Ashish Bahuguna, the Secretary of Agriculture.
The ground-breaking National Agroforestry Policy will be launched that morning. This is a unique innovation putting India first in the world to introduce such a policy. The policy was approved by the Cabinet on Wednesday 6 February. The sector is currently affected by adverse policies, legal constraints, inadequate investments, weak markets and a dearth of institutional finance.
The policy will enable farmers to reap the benefit of agroforestry. New farming approaches are needed to meet the demands of a growing world population for food, fodder, firewood and timber, against a backdrop
of shrinking land and water resources for agriculture and the threat of climate change.
After lunch the Congress moves into the South Asia Day plenary, with breakout sessions on agroforestry systems, income and environmental benefits, and then climate change, multifunctionality, livestock and fish systems.
Because of the very tight security surrounding the President’s visit, delegates will not be allowed to take bags, laptops, cameras, etc. into the hall. A cloakroom will be available to store belongings. Once the President leaves at 1.30 pm, the organisers will start distributing the Congress bag, which contains the official programme and other material.
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The social media campaign around the Congress has already started, with a series of blogs already posted and a vigorous community discussing the material that is being featured on Facebook and Twitter. One of our team of writers will be present at every session of the Congress, writing blogs for the website. Don’t be shy if one of them comes up to interview you about your presentation, or even about your question. We will be looking for interesting angles on stories, rather than straightforward reporting.