His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office delivering his sabda during the 41st Meeting of The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry opening ceremony at The Empire Hotel & Country Club on 15/10/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Crown Prince and Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office recently called for ASEAN member countries to look into technological innovations to increase the productivity of their respective food sectors.

The Crown Prince said this at the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (41st AMAF Meeting) in view of the need to address the rapid growth of the global population, which is projected to happen throughout the next three decades.

“Indeed, the need to improve our food security management is ever more important considering that the world population is projected to grow to almost 10 billion by 2050, with much of these growth occurring in Asian countries,” the Crown Prince said.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office officially opening the 41st Meeting of The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry at The Empire Hotel & Country Club on 15/10/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

To achieve this goal, ASEAN must strengthen the utilization of technological advancement and innovations in the food and agricultural sector, he continued, adding that pragmatic strategies should also be in place to address “emerging issues and challenges on food security”.

“In fact, the G20 meeting in Japan emphasized the importance of encouraging and embracing innovation in agriculture through the utilization and access to advanced technologies such as Information and Communication Technology, Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Farming”.

His Royal Highness then proceeded to highlight the crucial role that youths play in the future of the region’s food security management, calling for youths to be included and offered the right support in discussions of food security.

“Much of the future of ASEAN’s food security will be shaped by the decisions we make now. It is our future generation who will continue to face the question of food security”.

His Royal Highness Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah, Senior Minister at the Prime Minister’s Office touring the Forestry Department’s exhibiton during the 41st Meeting of The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry opening ceremony at The Empire Hotel & Country Club on 15/10/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

He added that it is the public sector’s moral obligation to establish an environment that can make technologies accessible to youths, to imbue them with the right skills that ensure youths “become leading pioneers and innovators in the area of food and agriculture”.

“In this regard, capacity building must also remain on top of our priority list as policy makers,” he added.

The crown prince then lauded ASEAN’s strong commitment towards regional cooperation in the areas of food, agriculture and forestry, which has “evolved beyond the 10 ASEAN member states”.

He commended the development of ASEAN’s food security cooperation since the implementation the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on ASEAN Food Security 2015-2020.

Attending delegates during the 41st Meeting of The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry opening ceremony at The Empire Hotel & Country Club on 15/10/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

“And, with our Plus Three Partners, we are firmly committed to implement the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement “.

The senior minister concluded his sabda by congratulating ministers and senior officials for the implementation of the Strategic Work Plan for ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016-2020 as well as the formulation of the new Strategic Work Plan for 2021-2025.

After opening ceremony, His Royal Highness then visited an exhibition themed Forest to Reefs that showcases the diversity of biodiversity of flora and fauna in Brunei Darussalam.

Prior to leaving the event, the crown prince consented to take a group photo with the ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Ministers that attended the 41st AMAF.

Attending delegates during the 41st Meeting of The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry opening ceremony at The Empire Hotel & Country Club on 15/10/19. Image: Ridhwan Kamarulzaman

The Bruneian | BRUNEI-MUARA

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