In most ASEAN countries, application of food standards on quality, safety and sustainability in practice is still limited and remains a challenge.
To strengthen ASEAN’s agricultural production and trade and bring them into line with regional and international food standards, a new project, Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in ASEAN, or ASEAN AgriTrade led by GIZ Indonesia was recently launched in Jakarta.
The ASEAN AgriTrade project was initiated to support ASEAN and particularly, Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) to improve the framework conditions to implement quality and sustainability standards in agricultural value chains within the region.
On 11 February 2020, 10 government officials from 6 Southeast Asian nations, namely, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam, came together for the 1st Project Steering Committee (PSC) Meeting of ASEAN AgriTrade in Jakarta, Indonesia. At the meeting, which also saw the launch of the project, common understanding about the project’s scope, activities and area of support were established, and plan activities for 2020 were agreed.
At the ASEAN level, the project will focus on strengthening regional cooperation to promote quality and sustainability standards and foster gender mainstreaming through GIZ Thailand. In CLMV countries, dialogue and partnerships between public and private sectors will be promoted to improve standards implementation in selected agricultural value chains.
In addition, the project plans to create consumer campaigns to improve awareness of the benefits and ecological advantages of sustainably produced agricultural products.
To kick start project activities, a workshop with public and private actors in CLMV will be organised to define the national workplan and select value chains to improve standards implementation. A regional workshop with 10 ASEAN countries will also be held to discuss how gender mainstreaming and public-private partnership can be better promoted in the crop sector of ASEAN.
Applying food standards to quality, safety and sustainability in agricultural production not only open up new market opportunities, but also helps increase income for farmers and food producers. It also provides consumers with access to good quality and safe agricultural products.
ASEAN AgriTrade is an ASEAN-German Cooperation Project commissioned by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). The project officially started implementation in January 2020 and will run until December 2022.