Thirteen countries at a United Nations forum in New Delhi have adopted a new set of safety and quality standards for machinery manufactured, traded and used in the Asia-Pacific region. The Asian and Pacific Network for Testing of Agricultural Machinery (ANTAM) Codes will help reduce the huge social and economic costs associated with the use of unsafe and substandard farm machinery, while also improving the environmental sustainability of farming.
Organized by the Centre for Sustainable Agricultural Mechanization (CSAM), a regional institution of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the forum was co-hosted by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) and held in parallel with EIMA Agrimach INDIA 2015 and the 4th International Exhibition and Conference on Agri-Machinery and Equipment from 3 to 5 December 2015.
At the opening ceremony, Dr. K. Alagusundaram, Deputy Director General of Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) stated: “Region-wide codes of ANTAM will lessen efforts to export and benefit farmers by providing the best machines in the fields.”
Mr. ZHAO Bing, Head of CSAM, emphasized that through the introduction of specifications and basic performance criteria, the ANTAM Codes will protect the well-being of farmers, enhance food safety, preserve the environment, and promote sustainable development of the agricultural machinery industry across the region. Moreover, he said: “The ANTAM Codes reflect the gratifying progress made by the agricultural community in the region towards achieving the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) for sustainable agriculture.”
Developed by a pool of regional experts, the ANTAM Codes largely align national standards from ESCAP’s member States with international codes and guidelines adopted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the International Organization for Standardization (IOS) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
As Asian countries are embracing sustainable agricultural mechanization to meet the growing demand for food, the focus on agricultural machinery manufacturing is rapidly shifting towards Asia. Standard-setting initiatives of ANTAM will also facilitate cross border trade of agricultural machinery by reducing transaction cost, enhancing transparency and promoting fair trade.