French plan aims to boost Asean agri-food security | Inquirer Business

French plan aims to boost Asean agri-food security

/ 02:02 AM July 29, 2022

A France-based global research partnership is crafting a program aimed at addressing various agriculture and food security challenges, to be presented during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) summit later this year.

Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) is coming up with different interventions representing a combination of priority areas for research and development across the region.

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These are regenerative agriculture and aquaculture, carbon neutrality and climate change, improvement of agrobiodiversity use and landscape biodiversity, enhancement of value chains and regional trade, transboundary pest and disease, private sector investment and sustainable financing, and farmer-led irrigation for climate resilient agrifood systems.

“Scale up and out bold integrated innovations that, in the next 10 years, make Asean agrifood systems more resilient to climate change while delivering better livelihoods for food producers, along the value chain, more nutritious and healthy food for consumers and a better natural environment for all,” the draft proposal read.

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Stephan Weise, managing director of the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT in Asia, said the initial draft will be presented to the Asean Senior Officials’ Meeting in August.

“And then from there, we continue developing the program further towards October, November for submission to the Asean ministers’ forum,” said Weise, who is also Asean One CGIAR program co-director.

Weise explained the program structure will initially be a five-year program with a 10-year horizon.

“We’re talking here of targeting at this stage $80 million in the first five years. If we end up with seven intervention packages, that’s $2 million a year per intervention package,” he said.

“There will be co-funding from member states as well to complement the efforts and that is part of discussions and engagement,” he added.

The plan was a result of a series of national consultations with all Asean member states conducted in the first quarter of 2022.

During the consultations, various stakeholders highlighted the need to provide training and capacity building, create an Asean network of boundary organizations or impact hubs, raise awareness of an integrated value chain approach, encourage innovation through initiatives that build capacity and provide seed funding, enhance the perception of the agriculture sector for youth and assist cross-Asean collaborative and strategic work in the agriculture and food sector.

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The intervention packages were discussed at the Asean-CGIAR Workshop held this week in Muntinlupa City.

“We also need to create an enabling environment and a platform in which partners are able to co-design, collaborate and contribute to the food systems research agenda in the region, for a continuous cycle of impact,” International Rice Research Institute Regional Representative for Asia Nafees Meah said.

—Jordeene B. Lagare
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TAGS: Asean Summit, Food Security, Research
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