ASEAN Ministers to adopt 23 action plans for agriculture and forestry development
The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) are expected to approve 23 new action plans and documents in the fields of agriculture and forestry at the 40th annual AMAF meeting which opened in Hanoi on October 11th. The agriculture sector in particular has played a core role in the socio-political and economic stability of each member country and their partners throughout the region.
Addressing the meeting, Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung said that the agriculture and forestry industries have been contributing factors to the strong development of ASEAN nations in recent years.
Indeed, for most ASEAN countries, agriculture is both a reliable and consistent industry that helps ensure food security and sustainable development. Therefore, cooperation in agriculture and forestry has always been a key content of the ASEAN Economic Community, Mr. Dung underscored.
The Deputy PM went on to say that agriculture is a vulnerable sector facing numerous risks. The agriculture sectors of Vietnam and of other regional countries are confronting fierce competition with other economic sectors in using resources, particularly labor, land and water resources.
A decline in productivity and growth and the gap between urban and rural areas, coupled with impacts of climate change also pose a number of challenges to the agriculture sector in the region. Particularly, the further development of climate change presents a looming problem for food security and sustainable development in each country, Mr. Dung said, citing examples such as the earthquake and tsunami which hit Indonesia in September this year, claimed the lives of thousands of people and has left severe long-lasting consequences.
He took the occasion to ask the meeting to invoke ASEAN available mechanisms like ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) to help victims of the earthquake and tsunami overcome difficulties.
The Vietnamese Deputy PM also urged the ASEAN Economic Community to put forth practical measures to take full advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It is imperative for ASEAN member countries to make the most out of technological advances and apply industry 4.0 technology into agricultural production, he added.
He expressed his belief that with the concerted efforts of regional partners and each member country, the AMAF meeting will accelerate the implementation of the ASEAN Economic Community and the ASEAN Community Vision as well as the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry between 2016 and 2025.
As an active member of the ASEAN Community, Vietnam takes a lead role in regional cooperation and will continue to develop feasible initiatives to improve the efficiency of ASEAN cooperation for the sustainable development of agriculture, Mr. Dung said.
The 40th AMAF meeting is scheduled to approve strategies, policies and guidelines for the regional agriculture and forestry industries and propose cooperation initiatives both with partners and international organizations with a view to realizing targets of the ASEAN vision to 2025 and the UN sustainable development goals to 2030.
According to Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong, Southeast Asian countries have favorable conditions with which to link and form supply and value chains of agriculture and food in the region. However, the gap in production levels, resources and technology among member nations are underlying challenges hindering the common development. As a result, a closer working relationship between nations is necessary, requiring member countries to foster cooperation ties to seek optimal solutions to achieve a green agriculture and inclusive and sustainable development for their agriculture and rural areas.