ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry inked a Memorandum of Understanding on ASEAN Cooperation in Agriculture and Forest Products Promotion Scheme (2019-2024) recently, recognising the two sectors as important aspects of the region’s economy.
By signing the MoU, ASEAN member countries agree that agriculture and forestry will remain as important aspects of the ASEAN economy which will have significant impacts on income enhancement and poverty alleviation.
It also recognizes that human resources can be developed through the transfer of technology, which will come as a result of the implementation of bold investment programmes.
The ASEAN member states also recognize the importance of liberalizing the agriculture and forestry sectors, to transform them from a production-push approach to a market-oriented approach.
The cooperation highlights the importance of diversifying agriculture and forest products, the intensification of the sectors’ downstream processes and higher value added activities.
In line with this, food, agriculture and forestry sectors must be realigned within the mainstream of ASEAN economic integration, realizing that these sectors cannot progress without promoting trade.
Thus, the MoU acknowledges that ASEAN must take full advantage of relevant international organizations and fora and reaffirm its awareness of the dynamics of recent globals affairs as well as the trends towards regional trade, economic integration and environmental issues.
The MoU will also enhance trade facilitation, involvement of agricultural producers in the integration process as well as the competitiveness of food, agriculture, forest products or commodities which was stated in the ASEAN Economic Community Blueprint 2025 and adopted by the 27th ASEAN Summit on November 22, 2015.
Furthermore, the cooperation emphasizes the commitment of the regional bloc towards fulfilling the Vision and Strategic Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry (FAF) 2020.
This will pivot collaboration efforts in the areas of enhancing quantity and quality of production, enhancing economic integration and market access and ensuring food security and safety.
Moreover, it will assist small producers and SMEs to meet global market standards, strengthening joint approaches on international and regional issues affecting the FAF sector and promoting sustainable forest management.
Signing on behalf of the government of Brunei Darussalam at the 41st AMAF Meeting held at the Indera Samudera Grand Hall, The Empire Hotel and Country Club was Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism YB Dato Seri Setia Hj Ali Apong who is also the chairman of the meeting.
Upon completion of signing the agreement, YB Dato Hj Ali then handed it over to the Secretary General of ASEAN Dato Paduka Lim Jock Hoi.
The 41st AMAF Meeting was also attended by agriculture and forestry ministers from the Plus Three Countries; China, Korea and Japan as well as India.
The Bruneian | BRUNEI-MUARA