Sustainable agrifood systems in the ASEAN region
Title: ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS)
Commissioned by: German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Member States of ASEAN; in particular Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Viet Nam
Lead executing agency: ASEAN Secretariat
Overall term: 2013 to 2017
The agrifood sector is one of the most important engines of economic growth in the ASEAN region. An ever-increasing demand among consumers for high-quality foodstuffs is driving regional and national agricultural policies to focus on the concept of sustainability. At the same time, ensuring safe, healthy and affordable food for a growing population requires the activities of all actors along various value chains – from suppliers and farmers to processors and retailers – to be profitable.
The ASEAN Sustainable Agrifood Systems (SAS) project builds on experience gained from the predecessor project, ASEAN Biocontrol, and is one of the two modules under the ASEAN-German Programme on Response to Climate Change: Agriculture, Forestry and Related Sectors. Whereas the predecessor project focused on promoting sustainable agricultural production, the current project is working to advance the agrifood sector along entire value chains in the rice, vegetable, fruit and coffee sectors. This includes factors such as further processing and market linkages for smallholder households. With regard to agricultural production, further topics – for example soil and nutrient management and farm economics – have been added to the ongoing work on biological control agents.
Strategies and guidelines of ASEAN Member States in the area of sustainable agrifood systems are implemented at national level. National policies are being harmonised in a single market (ASEAN Economic Community).
The project is hosted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives in Bangkok, Thailand. Additional project offices in Cambodia, Laos, Indonesia, Myanmar and Viet Nam implement activities at national level. Regional and national dialogue forums provide Member States with a platform to share lessons learned. The project has three areas of intervention:
- Policy framework
The project primarily advises ASEAN Member States on policy-making and decision-making, especially with regard to cross-border processes and political dialogue between the Member States.
- Implementation of production technologies
Selected approaches to sustainable production, based on biological control agents, soil and nutrient management and farm economics, are supported.
- Market linkages
The project strengthens the capacity of decision-makers at all levels and promotes cooperation between smallholders and the private sector within sustainable value chains. Sustainable agrifood models are implemented in pilot measures, thereby enabling experiences to be incorporated into policy consultations.
On a policy level, based on the work already carried out under the ASEAN Biocontrol predecessor project, the Guidelines on the Regulation, Use and Trade of Biological Control Agents drawn up by all ten Member States were officially endorsed by the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting. In some cases, these guidelines are already being implemented at national level. A large number of biological control agents, which have been used to make food production safer, have therefore been registered.
To date, a total of 500 ministerial staff and agricultural experts as well as more than 10,000 farming households have received training on applying sustainable agricultural practices. An increase in cooperation with the private sector in particular has resulted in more than 50 international and local companies investing in project activities which have benefited the public interest.