Covid-19 Food Security Response and Recovery Actions in the GMS


This workshop on COVID-19 Food Security Response and Recovery Actions in the GMS to be held on 1 September 2021 will present the first Knowledge Product (KP1) of the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program technical assistance (TA 9916), offering an up-to-date overview of COVID-19 risks and responses and their implications for agri-food value chains around the GMS.

The purpose of this dissemination exercise is to inform national counterparts and relevant public and private stakeholders, soliciting their insights and comments to adapt KP1 and technical assistance implementation strategy to local needs. The revised and improved KP1 will be released for public information and used as a basis for COVID-19 advisory services targeted to four GMS economies.

This workshop will also provide the opportunity for donor partners, regional organizations, agribusinesses, and GMS government departments to contribute their COVID-19 response and recovery experience and lessons.

Objectives of the Workshop

  • To present the TA 9916 Knowledge Product 1: COVID-19 Food Security Response and Recovery Actions in the GMS for stakeholder review and feedback, and
  • To facilitate inclusive, transparent, and robust sub-regional policy dialog on meeting the challenges COVID-19 presents for agri-food value chains, with special emphasis on livelihoods and food security.

This workshop aims to achieve (i) improved understanding of shared COVID-19 challenges to subregional national livelihoods and food security; (ii) contribution, commitment, and support more determined policy dialogue and coordination on managing COVID-19 risks to subregional agri-food value chains; (iii) shared experience and lessons of agri-food sector policies and actions to support farmers and agribusinesses.

GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program

The Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program contributes to the Asian Development Bank's assistance to COVID-19 agricultural sector response and GMS-wide cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery efforts. The expected impact of TA 9916 is realizing the GMS vision of being a leading supplier of safe and climate-friendly agri-food products. The outcome of the TA is increased GMS investments and capacity for climate-friendly, safe, and sustainable agri-food value chains. The TA has three outputs: (i) Climate-friendly, inclusive, and gender-responsive agri-food value chains and agribusinesses strengthened; (ii) Harmonized crop and livestock safety and quality systems adopted; and (iii) Climate-adaptive agriculture in the context of the water-energy-food security nexus enhanced. ADB is the executing agency for the TA. The GMS Working Group on Agriculture (WGA), in collaboration with relevant departments of the Ministry of Agriculture and other ministries (e.g., commerce, environment, finance, industry, science and technology, trade), will oversee the implementation of the TA.

Findings of the TA 9916 survey of COVID-19 risks and responses, and their implications for GMS agri-food value chains, were presented at the workshop on 1 September 2021. Dr. David Roland-Holst from Berkley University highlighted in the keynote presentation that the COVID-19 impacts revealed the need for:

  • Extensive and inclusive policy dialogue
  • Harmonized standards
  • Trade facilitation, and
  • Market integration

The workshop was attended by representatives from GMS agriculture ministries, ADB, other development partners as well as business community and agriculture researchers. IFAD has incorporated COVID-19 response activities into their Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia projects. FAO has developed some big data tools to assist the impact of COVID-19 on agri-food value chains. Policy briefs have also been developed to assist with COVID-19 responses.

Representatives from Viet Nam’s MARD Working Group 970 shared their innovative response to the disruption of agriculture value chains in Viet Nam’s southern provinces. The response features the use of digital multimedia changes to connect retailers, agribusiness and farmers. Agribusinesses from Thailand and Cambodia discussed how they implemented practical measures to ensure their agri-food value chains continue to function.

Mr. Stewart Pittaway, SAFSP Team Leader, said the TA 9916 will assist the GMS agriculture ministries with their COVID-19 recovery actions. This support will be informed by the TA 9916 GMS COVID-19 Response and Actions Knowledge Product (to be available soon on

This was originally posted on the GMS Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program Newsletter September 2021 Vol. 1 No. 1.

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Last Updated: 1 December 2021