Gangtok: An Inaugural function of International Expert Meeting on “Dynamic Conservation of Agricultural Heritage Systems in Mountainous Landscapes” was held today at a local hotel. The two day meeting is being organized by Sikkim University along with United Nations University (UNU) Tokyo, Kyoto University, Japan, ICIMOD, Kathmandu Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Rome and Government of Sikkim.The Chief Minister, Mr. Pawan Chamling, who chaired the meeting as the chief guest on the inaugural day, in his address said that the expert group meeting is taking place at a very critical period of the economic development process of the state. As the state is in a transitional period and is adopting various elements of economic liberalization measures, he hoped that the meeting will be overarching in contents and far reaching in its policy prescriptions. Informing about the innovative measures to modernize the agriculture systems like making the state a total organic by 2015, innovating technologies that would diversify the cropping patterns and integrating traditional agriculture with commercial practices, the core element in all these measures of course is to conserve the traditional agricultural institutions and practices while at the same time harnessing the bigger gains brought by globalization process, stated the Chief Minister. Mr. Chamling said that Sikkim cannot compete with other Indian, American and European farmers, but its cutting edge lies in producing and catering to niche market and the core competence emanates from a highly nature incentive inputs and production base. He fervently hoped that this meeting of very widely acclaimed experts will provide the state with instruments and other wherewithal to realize the objective.Chairman Mao once said that each mouth comes with a pair of hands, the Chief Minister therefore called upon the Sikkimese populace to become producers from mere consumers, “as we cannot think of a developed and civilized world without attaining self sufficiency in food grains”.Prof.Koji Tanaka, adjunct professor, UNU and Director of CIAS, Kyoto University, Japan also addressed the gathering and expressed his views and ideas.Earlier, Dr. Eklabya Sharma of ICIMOD, Kathmandu gave a power point presentation on Value and Services of farming systems in the Himalayas and Dr. Mary Jane dela Cruz from FAO, Rome gave her presentation on conservation and adaptive management of globally important agricultural heritage systems from concept to implementation.Dr. Liang Luohui of UNU Tokyo gave an introduction on the theme and introduced the international participants; and Dr. Jyoti Prakash Tamang who also coordinated the function introduced the Indian participants.Prof. Mahendra P. Lama, Vice Chancellor, Sikkim University welcomed the guests and the delegates from abroad with his welcome speech, while Dr. S. Takahashi of UNU, Tokyo proposed her vote of thanks to the august gathering.