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.

Top row, left to right: Dr. Danucha Pichayanan, Deputy Secretary General, Office of the National Economic and Social Development Council (Thailand); Mr. Liu Weihua, Deputy Director General, Department of International Economic and Financial Cooperation, Ministry of Finance (PRC); Mr. Alfredo Perdiguero, Director, SERC, ADB. Middle row: Mr. Than Aung Kyaw, Director General, FERD, Ministry of Investment and Foreign Economic Relations (Myanmar). Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Sisomboun Ounavong, Director General, Department of International Cooperation, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Lao PDR); Dr. Pham Hoang Mai, Director General, Foreign Economic Relations Department, Ministry of Planning and Investment (Viet Nam); and H.E. Mr. Ros Seilava, Secretary of State, Ministry of Economy and Finance (Cambodia) 

GMS Senior Officials’ Meeting Reviews COVID-19 Response Initiatives and Prepares for Upcoming Events

A GMS Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) was held on 11 September 2020 via web-based conferencing to review (i) proposed key GMS strategic planning documents and knowledge products, which includes GMS COVID-19 response initiatives and the new long-term strategy for the GMS program, and (ii) preparations for upcoming GMS events—the 11th Economic Corridors Forum (ECF-11), the 24th GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-24), and the 7th GMS Summit (Summit-7).  

Events

The Beijing Ruentex Environment Technology Group is a designated destination for disposing “medical wastes related to COVID-19” and “domestic wastes related to COVID-19” by the Beijing Municipal Emergency Response Headquarters for COVID-19 Caused Pneumonia. The company developed emergency plans and measures, and scientifically allocated resources for the disposal of epidemic-related medical wastes. Photo by ADB.

The Lopburi solar power plant in central Thailand. Photo by ADB.

Eight Priorities for Kickstarting Post-Pandemic Green and Resilient Recovery in the GMS

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has disrupted people’s health and well-being, led to widespread job loss, and created extraordinary uncertainty with long-lasting effects. As with climate change, the pandemic has disproportionately affected the most vulnerable people across the globe, including those in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).  

GMS in the News

Areenee Jasiti is a store assistant manager in Thailand where convenience stores have remained open, despite COVID-19. Convenience stores are one of Thailand's lifelines. Photo: UN Women/Ploy Phutpheng (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

$1.5 Billion ADB Loan to Support Thailand's COVID-19 Response

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing a $1.5 billion loan to support the Government of Thailand’s response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

GMS in the News

Green investments generate significant jobs and sustainable benefits to economies. Photo: ADB

6 Ways to Jumpstart a Green Recovery from COVID-19

In the popular imagination, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has been a boon for the natural world. With more than a third of the global population under some level of lockdown, we’ve delighted to see skies burst back into blueness and wild animals venturing into urban neighborhoods. It’s been easy to convince ourselves that wildlife and the environment have flourished. The truth, however, isn’t so reassuring. The pandemic has created an increase in poaching, animal trafficking, illegal fishing and other environmental crimes.

News

LocalFarm enables farmers and gardeners who had relied on tourism for their incomes to market seasonal fruits, vegetables, salads, and processed fruits directly to consumers. Photo courtesy of TakeMeTour via ADB.

ADB Ventures Backs LocalFarm to Help Thai Tourism Endure Downturn

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) impact investment platform, ADB Ventures, has teamed with the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) to support technology startup TakeMeTour to develop the LocalFarm online platform and help mitigate the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic on Thailand’s tourism sector.

GMS in the News

Photo: Beth Kanter/ Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Cambodia, People’s Republic of China Sign the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Mango Export

Cambodia and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) signed the Protocol of Phytosanitary Requirements for Fresh Mango Export on 9 June 2020. This will allow Cambodia and the PRC to work together on the phytosanitary practices of Cambodia’s mango farms to increase Cambodia’s mango export to the PRC. Cambodia can export up to 500,000 tons of high quality mangoes to the PRC per year, according to the Embassy of the PRC.

GMS in the News

ASEAN headquarter in Indonesia. Photo: Gunawan Kartapranata

ASEAN Economic Ministers Pledge to Boost Supply Chain Connectivity

The ASEAN Economic Ministers Meeting on 4 June adopted the Hanoi Plan of Action on Strengthening ASEAN Economic Cooperation and Supply Chain Connectivity in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic. Through the action plan, economic ministers hope to counter the impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak by promoting ASEAN markets for essential goods and strengthening economic cooperation among ASEAN countries.  

News

Join the Dialogue: GMS Working Group on Agriculture Discusses Post-Pandemic Food Security Response and Recovery

The Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Working Group on Agriculture will present post-COVID-19 response and recovery efforts in agriculture on 25 June at 1:30-4:30 p.m. (GMT+7) via Microsoft Teams. Priorities for COVID-19 recovery support by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in areas such as digital technologies for green agribusiness supply chain management, and livestock health and value chains will be discussed. 

Events

A 24/7 automatic dispensing machine provides free rice for people out of work following the lockdown. This was spearheaded by a Vietnamese entrepreneur in Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by Reuters on Twitter.

Initiative Gathers Mekong Innovations Spurred by the COVID-19 Pandemic

An initiative by the Mekong Tourism Coordinating Office (MTCO), Destination Mekong, and the Mekong Institute (MI) taps individuals' help in crowdsourcing newly-spotted innovations on how the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is being managed and/or overcome in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS).

GMS in the News