Agriculture leaders from the Great Mekong Subregion are working to boost countries’ focus on safe and environmentally friendly agriculture value chains with an aim to transform the sector from a low-based traditional system to a modernised, eco-friendly one.
The transformation is part of the action plan of the Promoting Safe and Environment Friendly Agro-Based Value Chains in the Greater Mekong Subregion for 2018-2022, currently being discussed in Siem Reap and set to be formally approved by the six Agriculture Ministers of the Greater Mekong Subregion tomorrow. The six countries include Cambodia, China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam, which are holding a seminar with their ministers and industry representatives this week.
“The forum provides a tremendous opportunity for linking up and forming alliances or coalitions and networks to work together on common issues identified in food production of safe and environmentally friendly agricultural products as well as on issues of food safety and food quality,” said Mam Amnot, secretary of state at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries.
Samiuela Tukuafu, country director at the Asian Development Bank in Cambodia, said the policy soon to be signed and implemented is a step in the right direction. “Through a strategy of diversification to high value crops and export competitiveness, Cambodia’s agriculture sector can further leverage itself as the vehicle for heightened poverty reduction,” he said.
Keo Chet, CEO of Natural Gold Palm Sugar, said that technical skills and financial support are the key factors behind producing environmentally friendly products. “Early this year, I got contracts with five companies from Thailand and I got a contract with a company from Vietnam because they are confident with our natural products, meaning that our naturally produced products are preferred,” he said.