The period 1976 to 1992 has provided a sound foundation for more meaningful cooperation in the areas of food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry. Cognizant of the global trend towards regional trade and economic integration and the threats of the environmental degradation and consistent with the policy guidelines provided in the Framework Agreement on Enhancing ASEAN Economic Cooperation as embodied in the 1 992 Singapore Declaration, the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry in their 1 4th Meeting on 8-1 0 October 1992 deliberated on the areas of future cooperation in food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry.
The ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry, at their 15th Meeting in Bandar Seri Begawan recognized that future ASEAN Cooperation in these fields have to be more business and results oriented. Projects should be carefully conceived, properly budgeted for and show results. In the final analysis it is the optimum utilization of resources and sensible management that will yield benefits and demonstrate that ASEAN is serious and deeply committed in this field.
II. PRIORITY AREAS OF COOPERATION
The 15th Meeting of Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry in Bandar Seri Begawan, 28-30 October 1993 agreed that the medium term programme of action for ASEAN cooperation in food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry shall cover the following priority areas :
i. Strengthening food security in the region;
ii. Facilitation and promotion of intra- and extra-ASEAN trade in food, agriculture, fishery and forest products;
iii. Technology generation and transfer to increase productivity and develop the agribusiness and silvobusiness;
iv. Agricultural rural community and human resources development;
v. Private sector involvement and investment;
vi. Management and conservation of natural resources for sustainable development; and
vii. Strengthening ASEAN cooperation and joint approaches in addressing international and regional issues.
III. PROGRAMME OF ACTION
The 15th AMAF Meeting also agreed that the Medium Term Programme of Action for ASEAN cooperation in food, agriculture, fisheries and forestry shall be focused on the following actions:
Priority Area 1: Strengthening food security in the region
i. Development of a technical support programme on food security management to enhance the availability of food and feed supplies in ASEAN;
ii. Coordination of research, technology application and training network in support of food security concerns;
iii. Improving information exchange on technologies and other data applicable to strengthening food security arrangements in ASEAN.
Priority Area 2: Facilitation and promotion of intra- and extra-ASEAN trade in food, agriculture, fishery and forest products
i. Intensifying the exchange of information on commodity policies, production, marketing, zoosanitary, phytosanitary and quarantine regulations, and standards;
ii. Strengthening training in postharvest handling, plant and animal quarantine and quality standards, commodity analysis and marketing;
iii. Strengthening institutional capacity in support of training, research and cooperation programme management;
iv. Establishment and harmonisation of ASEAN standards and quality assurance.
Priority Area 3: Technology generation and transfer to increase productivity and develop agribusiness and silvobusiness
i. Intensifying the development of databases and regional networking on agribusiness, silvobusiness, agroforestry, biotechnology, watershed management, production and postharvest technology, pests and diseases;
ii. Enhancing human resources development through experts consultation, seminar, exchange of personnel and collaborative research;
iii. Developing multisectoral training packages for strengthening agribusiness systems for change agents, agriculture cooperative leaders and rural youth leaders utilising appropriate development support communication resources.
Priority Area 4: Agricultural rural community and human resources development
i. Enhancing exchange of information on policies and strategies to eradicate poverty and develop human resources for agriculture, fishery and rural development;
ii. Improving the entrepreneurial capacities of farmers, fishermen, cooperative leaders, rural women, rural Youth and forestry workers in agribusiness and agroforestry through training and exchange of visits;
iii. Strengthening institutional capacities in rural women and youth development, agricultural and fishery cooperatives development and human resources planning;
iv. Establishing mechanisms to enable incorporation of gender issues in policy formulation and planning for human resources development.
Priority Area 5: Private sector involvement and investment
i. Conducting policy studies and training on the role of government and private sector in development of agriculture, fisheries and forestry;
ii. Facilitating collaborative activities of the government and private sector in holding seminars and dialogues on agribusiness, silvobusiness and investment opportunities;
iii. Promoting linkages amongst agricultural companies, agricultural cooperatives and farmers institutions to ensure acceptable standards of food, agricultural, fishery and forestry products, and more efficient and productive agricultural trade.
Priority Area 6: Management and conservation of natural resources for sustainable development
i. Accelerating follow-up actions to Agenda 21 and the Statement of Principles on the Management, Conservation and Sustainable Development of all Types of Forests as adopted by the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro;
ii. Developing training packages on management and conservation of natural resources for sustainable agriculture and forestry production and conservation of fishery resources;
iii. Strengthening institutional capacities in:
- standardisation of operation techniques for monitoring, control and surveillance of Exclusive Economic Zone;
- integrated coastal zone management;
- Management and conservation of shared marine resources; and
- Integrated watershed management and conservation;
iv. Promoting and intensifying the application of integrated pest management and biofertiliser;
Advocating regional policies on the conservation of biodiversity for the future development of plants and animals for food and medicinal purposes.
Priority Area 7: Strengthening ASEAN cooperation and joint approaches in addressing international and regional issues
i. Strengthening joint actions and approaches on international and regional issues particularly protectionism, farm subsidies, smear campaigns against agricultural products, and market access for agricultural commodities and processed products;
ii. Coordinating and strengthening joint positions in international organisations such as Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), Common Fund for Commodities (CFC), International Tropical Timber Organisation (ITTO) and International Natural Rubber Organisation (INRO); international fora such as General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) and UNCED as well as in international agreements such as International Natural Rubber Agreement (INRA) and International Tropical Timber Authority (ITTA);
iii. Enhancing cooperation among producers as well as between producers and consumers on agricultural commodities and forest products;
iv. Enhancing joint product promotion and seeking better market access for agricultural commodities and processed products, particularly in the major developed countries;
v. Enhancing joint efforts towards more stable commodity prices in global markets;
vi. Enhancing ASEAN cooperation with the developed countries to intensify research and development in agriculture and forestry, aimed at finding new uses, quality upgrading and product adaptation through technology transfer and greater collaboration between research institutes of both sides; and
vii. Enhancing joint efforts to encourage greater participation of the private sector from the developed countries and the New Industrial Economies (NIES) in the development of resources-based industries in the region through joint ventures in terms of capital investment, technology transfer and access to market opportunities.