A senior level working group meeting is finalizing a 5-year strategy for promoting safe and environment-friendly agro-based value chains (2018-2022) for the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS). The 14th Annual Meeting of the Working Group on Agriculture (WGA AM-14) of the GMS takes place on 13-15 July attended by senior agriculture officials, key private sector players, and development partners, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
“The GMS Strategy and Action Plan would pave the way for the subregion to become a global player in safe agri-based food products that are produced through sustainable and climate resilient means,” said Pavit Ramachandran, an ADB Senior Environment Specialist. “The focus will be on inclusiveness and impacting the small-scale farmers and micro and small agri-enterprises in the subregion.”
At the meeting, the WGA members will agree to submit the final draft of the Regional Strategy and Action Plan for endorsement by the six Ministers of Agriculture at the Second GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting on 6-8 September 2017, also to be held in Siem Reap.
Members will discuss achievements in the implementation of the GMS Core Agriculture Support Program Phase II (CASP2) and the preparatory work for the follow-through ADB technical assistance that will support the ensuing Strategy and Action Plan.
They are also set to discuss the highly successful GMS one-stop market pavilion and the policy forum organized at the recently concluded THAIFEX — World of Food Asia 2017 in Thailand. The GMS market event in THAIFEX attracted more than 17,000 visitors, and negotiated about 350 business deals for more than 200 GMS agriculture products. An issues paper on “Increasing the safety and quality of food products from the Greater Mekong Subregion” was developed, which will be the basis for a public-private dialogue at the GMS Agriculture Ministers’ Meeting.
The WGA officials will conduct a public-private dialogue on mutual recognition of geographical indication products within the GMS. A prototype of a new agriculture information network services online portal will also be showcased.
The GMS includes Cambodia, the People's Republic of China (specifically Yunnan Province and Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), the Lao People's Democratic Republic, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam.
ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, ADB is celebrating 50 years of development partnership in the region. It is owned by 67 members—48 from the region. In 2016, ADB assistance totaled $31.7 billion, including $14 billion in cofinancing.