Asean Agriculture and Forestry Ministers met yesterday in Brunei to identify food security strategies and strengthen cooperation to protect public health.
Agriculture Minister Veng Sakhon joined the meeting dubbed “The Senior Officials’ Meeting of the 41st Meeting of the Asean Ministers’ on Agriculture and Forestry”.
Mr Sakhon yesterday said on Facebook that he met with Matthew Morell, director-general of International Rice Research Institute. The two discussed strengthening rice sector cooperation.
Mr Sakhon noted that Cambodia and IRRI have been working over the past 40 years to reduce hunger and poverty and ensure food security. He also quoted Mr Morell as saying that the IRRI plans to propose a project to utilise new climate-resistant rice to Asean ministers.
“We hope that Cambodia will support this proposal at this Asean ministers meeting,” Mr Morell said, as quoted by Mr Sakhon.
Mr Sakhon said he responded to Mr Morell by saying it is a good project that will benefit everyone in the world. He said Cambodia will support the project at the meeting.
Mr Sakhon also noted that Asean ministers highlighted the progress this year on the implementation of several frameworks related to cooperation in the sectors of food, agriculture and forestry.
These frameworks were: Asean Good Manufacturing Practice for pharmaceutical products, Good Agricultural Practices standard for the production of fresh fruit and vegetables in the Asean region, technical guidelines for animal health emergencies with an early warning system and the request to create an Asean network for combating illegal fishing.
“Ministers also highlighted the Asean regional strategy for the management and prevention of African Swine Fever 2019-2025, Asean principles for the protection of wildlife found and also the prevention of the trafficking of wild animals,” Mr Sakhon said.
He said that Asean ministers instructed each other to continue monitoring and cooperating on livestock management by organising methods for good production practices and infectious disease prevention.
Ministers also told each other to address the issue of sustainability so food sources can be ensured for their respective countries.
They also agreed to continue a project against Antimicrobial Resistance in aquaculture and uphold Asean’s phytosanitary principles for the importation of agricultural products.
They also told each other to develop forestry laws and uphold Asean’s principles in the sustainable management of timber and non-timber resources.
According to Mr Sakhon, the meeting was first initiated in 1993 to increase Asean’s competitiveness in terms of food, agriculture and forestry. He said that the meeting aims to strengthen food security in regional and international markets. Last year’s meeting was held in Vietnam.
Discussions were held and documents were adopted. These documents were: The Asean Guidelines on Promoting Responsible Investment in Food, Agriculture and Forestry, The Approach to Gender Mainstreaming in the Food, Agriculture and Forestry Sectors, The Asean Roadmap for Enhancing the Role of Agricultural Cooperatives in the Global Agricultural Value Chains 2018-2025, The Asean Guidelines for Agroforestry Development Manual for Assessing Forest Law Enforcement and Governance Implementation in Asean Member States.