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.

Climate Resilient Rural Infrastructure Project in Northern Viet Nam Successfully Promotes Application of Bioengineering Techniques

Viet Nam is a hazard-prone country. Its 3,260-kilometer coastline is regularly exposed to typhoons, floods, drought, coastal erosion, and landslides. This poses significant threats to roads, embankments, and water supply infrastructure. An estimated 97% of average annual economic losses from natural hazards is caused by flooding. 

Projects

Mekong Institute’s Capacity Building Activities Continue to Expand Knowledge in the GMS

In 2019, the Mekong Institute conducted 112 capacity building activities that benefitted 3,270 participants from the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) countries in the areas of agricultural commercialization, trade and investment facilitation, and innovation technology and communication. Furthermore, Mekong Institute alumni held 155 trainings and workshops, expanding knowledge sharing to an additional 9,031 beneficiaries across Cambodia, People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Events

ADB is helping Lao PDR reduce economic losses resulting from floods and droughts. The project will pair upgrades in water management infrastructure with community-based disaster risk management and enhanced regional forecasting to improve disaster preparedness in the GMS. Photo by ADB. 

New Irrigation Systems and Information are Helping Revive Livelihoods in Lao PDR

Orlathai Ferchanthala dreams of turning her family’s subsistence farm into a commercial business growing rice and a range of cash crops, raising livestock, and outfitted with a modern irrigation system.

“The soil here is suitable for growing various crops, and the grass is perfect for raising cattle,” said Ferchanthala, a 35-year-old mother of three living in a rural community in southern Vientiane. “We need irrigation schemes to bring water into our farming areas in the dry season and proper dikes to protect us from floods in the rainy season.”

Projects

Asian Development Fund grant financing for a project in Lao PDR helped scale up efforts to improve food safety and ensure plant and animal health by improving sanitary and phytosanitary capacity in the country. Photo by Asian Development Bank. 

Together We Deliver Highlights Lives Improved through Asian Development Fund Grants 

Together We Deliver: Grants for a Brighter Future is a special edition of the Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) annual publication featuring stories of lives uplifted across Asia and the Pacific through grant financing by the Asian Development Fund (ADF). The ADF provides grants to support activities that reduce poverty and improve the quality of life in “ADF countries”—the poorest and most vulnerable countries in the region.

Publications

Seated from left: Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia, and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department at the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Photo by ADB.

ADB Affirms Support for Future GMS Initiatives 

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) remains committed to supporting the future initiatives of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) Program. Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President of ADB, reaffirmed ADB’s support in his speech at the recently-concluded 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23). The MC-23 was Mr.

Events

Heads of GMS country delegations participate in the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference. Standing from left are Mr. Vu Dai Thang, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Planning and Investment, Viet Nam; Mr. Aung Htoo, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar; Ms. Cheng Lihua, Vice Minister, Ministry of Finance, PRC; Mr. Sok Chenda Sophea, Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Minister in charge of GMS Cooperation Program/GMS Minister, Secretary General, Council for the Development of Cambodia; Mr. Viengsavath Siphandone, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Public Works and Transport, Lao PDR; Mr. Thaworn Senneam, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Transport, Thailand; and Mr. Ahmed M. Saeed, Vice President for ADB Operations in the Southeast Asia Department, the East Asia Department, and the Pacific Department. Photo by ADB.

23rd Ministerial Conference of the Greater Mekong Subregion Economic Cooperation Program

The Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) organized the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference on 17-18 November 2019 in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, with the theme “Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”  The meeting brought together GMS Ministers and Senior Officials of the six GMS countries—Cambodia, the People’s Republic of China (PRC), Lao People’s Democratic

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Phnom Penh skyline reflecting the city's rapid growth. The Central Market, built in 1937, is seen in the foreground. Photo by Lor Teng Huy - own work, CC BY-SA 4.0

GMS Ministers to Gather in Phnom Penh for the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference

The Ministers of the six member countries of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are set to lay the groundwork for the preparation for the 7th GMS Summit of Leaders. 

Hosted by the Royal Government of Cambodia and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the 23rd GMS Ministerial Conference (MC-23) will take place in Phnom Penh on 18 November 2019, with the theme "Greater Integration, Inclusivity and Sustainability in the GMS.”   

Articles