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AMAF endorses ASEAN-CGIAR agri-food systems regional program

(Vientiane, LAOS) – As part of the efforts to help make ASEAN agri-food systems more resilient to climate change and fit for purpose in delivering better livelihoods for food producers along the food value chain, CGIAR presented the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food Regional Program at the 44th ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting in Laos on 26 October 2022.

During the 44th AMAF Meeting, CGIAR sought final endorsement from  ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture for the program.

The ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food Regional Program is a cross-disciplinary and demand-driven program that intends to scale up and out bold integrated innovations for the ASEAN agri-food systems and has been co-created and co-designed with the ASEAN Member States (AMS).

The AMS and ASEAN Secretariat have been fully supportive of the ASEAN-CGIAR regional program development process and have sought to align it with the delivery of the ASEAN vision for the Food, Agriculture and Forestry Sector. Dr. Jean Balié, CGIAR Regional Director for Southeast Asia and Pacific, emphasized the importance of a shared vision for the region.

“Transformation of the agri-food systems needs to be economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable for the entire region. Achieving this will  require widespread adoption of bold integrated innovations, and a deeper understanding of the technological, social, and institutional drivers of the food systems in the ASEAN,” said Dr. Balié.

Under the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food Regional Program, the following eight intervention packages were developed: 

  1. Regenerative Agriculture & Aquaculture and Agro-Chemical Use 
  2. Climate Neutrality and Circular Agriculture
  3. Enhancing ASEAN Agrobiodiversity use and landscape biodiversity
  4. Enhancing Value Chains and Regional Trade
  5. Transboundary Pest and Disease
  6. Private Sector Investment and Sustainable Financing
  7. Farmer-led irrigation for Climate-Resilient Agri-Food Systems
  8. Food Systems Transformation for More Nutritious and Healthy Diets

The 44th AMAF fully supported the ASEAN-CGIAR Innovate for Food Regional Program. During the discussions, the Meeting agreed with the program and requested CGIAR to work closely with the ASEAN Secretariat and the ASEAN Member States in its implementation.

The program was also presented during the Special Senior Officials Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (SOM-AMAF) in August this year. SOM-AMAF leaders from Cambodia, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Indonesia expressed their verbal endorsement to the program during that meeting. Meanwhile during the 44th AMAF, the Philippines and Lao PDR considered that the contribution of the regional program would be invaluable.

“Having experienced the benefits of collaboration with IRRI and with CGIAR, we believe that the ASEAN - CGIAR Innovate for Food regional program will make a major contribution to agriculture and food security and enable the region to emerge strongly from COVID-19 and other existing challenges, through a well-designed recovery plan that transforms agri-food systems to be more inclusive, sustainable, and climate-smart. The Philippines is supportive of this very important program and endorse it to ASEAN,” said Philippine Department of Agriculture Undersecretary Domingo Panganiban.

"We support the ASEAN - CGIAR Innovate for Food Regional Program. This will assist in significantly developing the agriculture and fisheries sector in the ASEAN region," said Lao P.D.R. Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr. Phet Phomphinak.

While the complete time horizon for the program is ten years, the first phase of the ASEAN-CGIAR Regional Program will start initially with a five-year program in  2023  with a planned budget of USD60 million.   The first year will be an inception year focusing on immediate opportunities to scale up and out ready innovations and on scoping scoping studies.