With over one hundred million hectares of agricultural land, ASEAN is a major producer, supplier, and exporter of various crops and grains, particularly rice. Collectively, the region has also become the world’s largest and rapidly growing producer of palm oil and natural rubber in recent years.1 The food, agriculture, and forestry sector remains a strategic sector within the region and a major source of employment for a large proportion of the ASEAN population.
At the same time, ASEAN is faced with emerging challenges of enhancing resilience to climate change while increasing sustainable agricultural production and productivity to ensure food security. To address such challenges, innovative and sustainable agricultural practices and technologies are gaining more importance in helping ASEAN agriculture transit to highly productive, economically viable, and environmentally sound one.
Source: Theory vs practice: Patterns of the ASEAN-10 agri-food trade. Available from: https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/opag-2021-0014/html#j_opag-2021-0014_fig_001.
Guided by the Vision and Strategic Plan of ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016-2025, the ASEAN’s food, agriculture, and forestry sector strives to: 1) ensure equitable, sustainable and inclusive growth; 2) alleviate poverty and eradicating hunger; 3) ensure food security, food safety and better nutrition; 4) deepen regional integration; 5) enhance access to global markets; 6) increase resilience to, and contribute to mitigation and adaptation of climate change, natural disasters and other shock; and 7) achieve Sustainable Forest Management (SFM).
Japan has a long history of cooperation on food, agriculture, and forestry with ASEAN, both bilateral and multilateral. Under the framework of ASEAN+3 Ministers’ Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF+3), Japan is committed to strengthening resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems which are essential for improving food security.2
Areas of Support and
Under the ASEAN-Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Agreement, ASEAN and Japan initiated several economic cooperation projects including capacity building and technical assistance in areas of mutual interests. Through JAIF, Japan supported six projects3 to enhance agricultural productivities.
Various JAIF projects have also been implemented in support of the current key strategies of ASEAN for food, agriculture, and forestry. The following are the key achievements of the JAIF projects under the Vision and Strategic Plan of ASEAN Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016-2025.
JAIF continues to extend its support to food, agriculture, and forestry sector through these projects which are currently ongoing: 1) Taxonomic Capacity Building to Support Market Access for Agricultural Trade in the ASEAN Region – Phase 2; 2) Development of Stock Assessment Methods and Strengthening of Resources Management Measures for Tropical Anguillid Eel in Southeast Asia; 3) Efficiency Enhancement of Regional Irrigation Water Management in Gravity Irrigation System; 4) Creation and Testing of Learning and Accreditation Programme to Implement ASEAN-RAI Guidelines; 5) Improved Coordination and Strengthened Capacity to Deal with the Invasive Insect Pest Tuta Absoluta in Mainland Southeast Asia; 6) Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund Capacity Development Program for ASEAN RiceNet4>; and 7) Regional Collaborative Research and Capacity Building for Monitoring and Reduction of Marine Debris from Fisheries in Southeast Asia.
1 ASEAN Framework Support Food, Agriculture and Forestry Small Producers, Cooperatives and Micro, Small, and Medium-Sized Enterprises (MSMEs) to Improve Product Quality to Meet Regional/International Standards and Ensure Competitiveness
3 The six projects contributed to the ASEAN Japan Comprehensive Economic Partnership (AJCEP) Agreement are 1) Capacity Building Regarding Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) in ASEAN Region; 2) Capacity Enhancement in Rice Production in Southeast Asia under Organic Agriculture Farming System; 3) Strengthening of Regional Knowledge on Rural Renewable Energy (Biogas) Development for ASEAN Countries; 4) The Applications of Chemical Fertilizers and Pesticides in ASEAN Countries’ Agriculture Sector; 5) Capacity Building Regarding Conservation and Sustainable Use of Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (PGRFA) in ASEAN Region – Phase 2; and 6) Capacity Building of ASEAN Biotechnology Researchers for Livestock Resiliency and Sustainability.
4 The project also supports Initiative for ASEAN Integration (IAI) Work Plan IV (2021-2025).