ASEAN forum discusses food security plan

LOS BAÑOS, Laguna: Analysts, policymakers, researchers, international donors and public-private entities gathered at a high-level policy forum on Wednesday June 1 in Hanoi, Vietnam, to deliberate on five years of research in agriculture and in food security within the Association of Southeast Asian countries. Region of Nations (ASEAN).

Dr. Glenn Gregorio, Director of the Southeast Asia Regional Center for Graduate Studies and Research in Agriculture (Searca), said the forum “Agricultural transformation and market integration in the ASEAN region: Addressing Food Security and Inclusion Concerns (ATMI-ASEAN)” is a program spanning the Philippines, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam.

He added that ATMI-Asean, which is jointly implemented by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Los Baños-based Searca, is funded by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD). .

Over 100 stakeholders participated in the forum co-organized by IFPRI, Searca and the Vietnam Institute of Policy and Strategy for Agriculture and Rural Development, which included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture and Development Rural Government of Vietnam; Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Cambodia; Myanmar Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Irrigation; Asian farmers’ organizations, research institutes, donors, civil society, non-governmental organizations and academics.

Anchored on the theme “Transforming food systems in the Asean region post-Covid-19”, the forum took stock of the progress made in food security and inclusiveness in the Asean region.

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Gregorio said participants deliberated on pathways for a resilient recovery of agrifood value chains that will ensure the inclusiveness of smallholders in regional and global value chains and make them resilient to shocks.

Forum organizers also stressed that unless food security and smallholder inclusiveness are credibly aligned with the ASEAN competitiveness agenda, improvements in regional agricultural and food markets will be inadequate, leaving them vulnerable to sudden disturbances.

Also during the forum, the results of the ATMI-Asean program were presented, including Searca-led components such as the regional value chain assessment conducted in coordination with the ASEAN Secretariat, as well as the studies of the agricultural value chain at the national level, policy strategies and national roadmaps. for value chains in the five target ASEAN member states (AMS).

“The roadmaps will further contribute to building the capacity of the targeted AMS to develop policies and programs to support the adjustment of the smallholder agricultural sector to changes in sub-regional and supra-regional agricultural and food markets,” said said Gregorio.

Participants also discussed possible ways to sustain the use of the program’s work beyond its lifecycle through an extended network of policy actors and analysts. ATMI-Asean internalizes the recomposition of the food system with public health concerns and the geopolitical complex.

Abdelkarim Sma, IFAD’s chief regional economist, said he was proud that his support had contributed to better coordination of food security policies and the development of regional and subregional roadmaps for investments in food chains. food and agricultural value for the ASEAN region.

“I am particularly pleased that the programme’s capacity building efforts have helped strengthen national government agencies and ASEAN in their respective planning and programming capacities,” Sma said.

Melvin B. Baillie