ADB plan aims for synergy in agro sector

14 July 2017 Southeast Asia

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is close to finalising its five-year action plan for 2018 to 2022 that promotes agricultural-based value chains across the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS), an area that includes Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar and the southern Chinese province of Yunnan, the regional development bank announced yesterday.

“The GMS strategy and action plan would pave the way for the subregion to become a global player in safe agri-based food products that are produced through sustainable and climate resilient means,” Pavit Ramachandran, an ADB senior environment specialist, said in a press release. “The focus will be on inclusiveness and impacting the small-scale farmers and micro and small agri-enterprises in the subregion.”

The ADB brought together key ministers from the respective countries for a two-day working group workshop in Siem Reap that began yesterday, with the hope of negotiating the last details of the agreement before meeting again in September.

The officials will also discuss promoting a public-private dialogue on mutual recognition of geographic indicator (GI) products within the GMS as well as the possibility of a new regional online portal for sharing agriculture information.

The ADB will outline its technical support of the action plan as well as recapping the success of the preparatory GMS Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II, which paved the way for a more inclusive strategy.

Edgar Valenzuela, communication and knowledge management specialist for the ADB, told The Post that the purpose of the strategy was to help strengthen agriculture value chains within the GMS region.

“This strategy will strengthen the commitment to food security, increase market access for small producers and ensure inclusive food safety for the GMS,” he said. “It will focus on expanding markets for safe and environment-friendly agricultural products of small farmers and small and medium agro-enterprises.”

He added that Cambodia could stand to gain the most from agricultural products that have GI status.

“Cambodian exports which are GI, such as Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu sugar, can be easily recognised and can command a higher value or premium price in the market.”

Kampot pepper and Kampong Speu sugar were awarded WTO-backed GI status in 2010.