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.

According to a report released by the Asian Development Bank, tourism in the Lao PDR supported growth in livestock and fisheries industries in 2019

Agriculture and Tourism Key to Lao PDR's Sustainable and Shared Prosperity — ADB

Raising competitiveness and strengthening the links between agriculture and tourism will contribute to post-coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery and inclusive growth in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), according to a report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) released today.  

News Releases

Viet Nam Seeks Support from GZAR, PRC, to Facilitate Agri Export

Mr. Nguyen Hong Dien, Viet Nam’s Minister of Industry and Trade, requested support from Mr. Lu Xinshe, Party Secretary of the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region of the People’s Republic of China (GZAR, PRC), to facilitate cross-border trade between Viet Nam and the PRC by (i) upgrading border gates, (ii) restoring customs services at sealed off border gates, and (iii) extending the operating hours of customs clearance services at border gates, border crossings, and markets.

GMS in the News

Thai Durian Association Seeks Linkage between Thailand's Rail Network and the Lao PDR-PRC Railway

The Thai Durian Association called on the Government of Thailand to ease the bottleneck hindering durian exports to the People's Republic of China (PRC) by linking Thailand's rail network with the Lao PDR-PRC railway. The railway offers a potential route for durian shipments to the PRC, where there is huge demand for the fruit. Mr. Phanusak Saiphanich, chairman of the association, notes there is currently no connection between the Thai rail network and the Lao PDR-PRC railway.

GMS in the News

Inception Workshop for the GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program

The Asian Development Bank is organizing an inception workshop for the ADB TA 9916 - Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program (SAFSP) on 9–10 June 2021 via web-based video conference. This knowledge and support technical assistance (TA), which runs for 5 years (April 2020 – March 2025), supports the implementation of the Strategy for Promoting Safe and Environment-Friendly Agro-Based Value Chains in the GMS and Siem Reap Action Plan, endorsed by the GMS Agriculture Ministers in September 2017. The TA builds on the achievements of the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP) phases I (2006-2012) and II (2012-2019)

Events

Durian being sold in Bangkok, Thailand. Photo by Sitoo via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

PRC Opens Dongxing Border Gate for Thailand’s Fruits

The General Administration of Customs of the PRC (GACC) has opened the Dongxing border gate in the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region to facilitate fruit imports from Thailand on 29 April 2021. Thailand’s Department of Agriculture expects this to lead to a significant rise in the export of durian to the PRC.  

GMS in the News

The watershed of the Nakai Reservoircontains Lao PDR's largest biodiversity area with an outstanding collection of plants and animals endemic to Southeast Asia. Photo by ADB

PRC Firm, Lao PDR Sign MoU for Forest Restoration and Agri Development Study

Jiarun Agricultural Development Co, Ltd., of the People's Republic of China, and the Ministry of Planning and Investment of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the feasibility study for a forest restoration and ecological agriculture development project. The MoU states that the feasibility study will be conducted for 5,000 hectares of land in Sanamxay district of Attapeu province in southern Lao PDR. The project is envisioned to generate over 50,000 local jobs, promoting the local economy and raising the people's living standards. 

GMS in the News