Agriculture

Agriculture is the backbone of the Greater Mekong Subregion’s economies. With over 60% of the subregion’s 340 million inhabitants engaged in small-scale agriculture, it directly supports the livelihoods of nearly 200 million people.

The Working Group on Agriculture (WGA) has been working toward the implementation of priority projects under the Core Agriculture Support Program.

Agriculture is the cornerstone of many families’ livelihoods, however it is also exacting a toll on the environment, contributing to forest and biodiversity loss, water pollution and shortages, soil degradation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

People and governments in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are working to develop agricultural practices that simultaneously conserve land and water resources, while at the same time increasing the productivity and profitability of agriculture, particularly for small-scale farmers. 

The GMS Economic Cooperation Program Strategic Framework 2030 (GMS-2030), endorsed and adopted at the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders in September 2021 to provide a new setting for the development of this subregion for the next decade, notes that in the agriculture sector, GMS-2030 will promote higher food safety and quality standards for expanding exports, for which an alignment of policies and standards will be required in the subregion. GMS-2030 will encourage climate- and environment-friendly production practices along the value chain, as well as sustain natural assets with a focus on small-scale farmers and micro, small, and medium-sized agro-enterprises. Given that COVID-19 has adversely impacted agricultural supply chains, GMS-2030 will support food security response and recovery efforts in the medium and long terms.

The GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (GMS SAFSP), implemented in 2019,has been designed to assist the GMS countries to tackle key climate change challenges to their agricultural sectors.Its three themes are: (i) climate-friendly, inclusive, and gender responsive agri-food value chains and agribusiness; (ii) climate-adaptive agriculture in the context of water-energy food nexus; and (iii) harmonized crop and livestock safety and quality systems.

The SAFSP was prepared in response to the recommendations of GMS agriculture ministers in 2017. They expressed a joint vision of promoting the GMS as a leading supplier of safe, quality and climate-friendly agri-food products. Achieving this vision depends on overcoming multiple barriers along the agrifood value chains. The ministers endorsed the Strategy for Promoting Safe and Environment Friendly Agro-Based Value Chains in the GMS at the 2nd GMS Agriculture Ministers' Meeting in Siem Reap, Cambodia on 6-8 September 2017. The Strategy aims to promote safe and environment-friendly agriculture products, and a plan to strengthen value chain integration, involving smallholder farmers, rural women, as well as small and medium-sized agro-enterprises.

The GMS SAFSP builds on the achievements of the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP) phase I (2006-2012) and phase II (2011-2020).

Related

Strategy for Promoting Safe and Environment-Friendly Agro-Based Value Chains and Siem Reap Action Plan, 2018-2022
Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II (2011-2015)
Core Agriculture Support Program Phase I (2006-2010)
GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program Newsletter
Working Group on Agriculture (WGA)

Focal Persons at the Asian Development Bank

  • Srinivasan Ancha
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Jan Hinrichs
    Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture Division,
    East Asia Department

Other Concerned Staff & Consultants

  • Asadullah Sumbal
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department
  • Rafaelita Jamon
    Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division,
    Southeast Asia Department/GMS Secretariat

Send inquiries to GMS CCESP Secretariat and GMS Secretariat.


January 2022 Vol. 1, No. 2

This newsletter by the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP) presents the latest activities and developments in GMS agriculture cooperation. Read about how the ADB funded TA 9916 Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP) has been designed to assist the GMS countries to tackle key climate change challenges to their agricultural sectors, the latest knowledge product on COVID-19 Food Security Response and Recovery Actions in the GMS, progress on harmonized FSQ standards, and more.


Photo by ADB 

GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program and GMS Countries Reach Agreement in Principle for First 6 Demonstration Sites

Demonstrations or pilot farms were implemented in large scale in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) during the Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP) and will continue to form an important part in the GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP). At least 12 demos will be set up across the subregion. These demos will offer important learning opportunities for target groups, especially the farmers, and practical results will provide feedback for policy making process.

GMS in the News

Photo by ADB

Young People are Encouraged to More Actively Engage in GMS Agri-food Value Chains

The ageing agricultural labor force in most of GMS countries is causing significant obstacles for the development of agro production activities, not only in productivity but also in innovation. Developing or applying knowledge-based and innovative aspects such as climate smart agriculture, digitalization, block chain technologies and other innovations is crucial for the sector to become more sustainable and competitive. Youth in the region is the generation to continue to work in this essential field, and they play a pivotal role in transforming agri-food systems.

GMS in the News

ADB Encourages GMS Countries to Propose Investment Projects to Capitalize on the Implementation of the GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program

As a technical assistance (TA) program, the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP) itself will not satisfy the vast needs of some GMS countries for infrastructure and facilities. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) therefore recommends each GMS Agriculture ministry to capitalize on this TA, together with other efforts, to come up with investment projects. Mr.

GMS in the News

Photo by ADB

Modern GMS Agri-food Sectors Need Further Works on Traceability and Digital Technology

Keeping accurate and immutable records is the bedrock for creating transparency and trust in food products’ origin, safety and quality. Record keeping in small & medium agribusinesses in the GMS is done mostly on paper, which is difficult to access across the supply chain. Reporting on a study on organic coffee at the 18th WGA Annual meeting, Dr. Suporn from the National Science and Technology Development Agency (NSTDA) of Thailand, said that digital technology for e-traceability enabled chain actors to share data in a digital and standardized manner for the first time. 

GMS in the News


September 2021 Vol. 1 No. 1

Read about the 18th GMS Working Group on Agriculture Annual Meeting and the webinar on GMS COVID-19 food security response and recovery, as well as planned demonstration sites of the GMS SAFSP, five priority areas of SAFSP support, and more. The newsletter also includes relevant news, knowledge products, and events in the subregion.


Chay Lap Farmstay in Phuc Trach commune, Bo Trach District, Quang Binh Province. The community-based tourism area was first supported by the GMS Sustainable Tourism Development Project funded by ADB. The People's Committee of Quang Binh province allowed it to partner with Oxalis Adventure Tours in order to upgrade the Farmstay to a four-star service. Photo by ADB

Viet Nam Eyes Development of Rural Tourism Powered by Digital Technology

Viet Nam is eyeing the development of rural tourism—such as community-based tourism, agricultural tourism, and ecotourism—backed by digital transformation.  

Viet Nam has around 365 rural tourism spots and more than 2,000 traditional craft villages with potential for development under rural tourism.  

GMS in the News