Deputy Prime Minister Trinh Dinh Dung of Vietnam, the current chair country of the AMAF, delivered the opening speech at the meeting.
He underlined the key role of agriculture in socio-political and economic stability of each member country of ASEAN and the bloc’s partners in the region.
Reality shows that for most ASEAN countries, agriculture is the base of the economy which helps them overcome fluctuations and crisis, contributing to ensuring food security and sustainable development, he said, stressing that cooperation in agriculture, forestry has always been a key content of the ASEAN Economic Community.
Delegates to the 40th meeting of AMAF in Hanoi (Photo: VNA) At the same time, agriculture is also a vulnerable sector facing numerous risks, he said, noting that the agricultural sector of Vietnam as well as of other countries in the region is facing fierce competition with other economic sectors in resources, especially labour, land and water sources.
Other challenges for the region’s agriculture include declining productivity and growth, the gap between rural and urban areas and especially impacts of climate change.
Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung laid emphasis on the complicated and unpredictable climate change, which is threatening food security and sustainable development of each country, citing examples such as the recent earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia which claimed thousands of lives and left severe long-term consequences.
He took the occasion to propose using available mechanisms of the ASEAN such as the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) to provide timely support to victims of the twin disaster.
Mentioning the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR), Deputy PM Trinh Dinh Dung called on the ASEAN Economic Community to adopt practical measures to seize opportunities and bring the ASEAN’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors forward to catch up with developed nations. He noted that ASEAN member countries should pay attention to the application of 4IR technology to commercial agricultural production.The Deputy PM said as an active member of the ASEAN Community, Vietnam attaches importance to regional cooperation and will continue to make feasible initiatives to enhance the effectiveness of ASEAN cooperation for the sustainable development of agriculture.
The 40th AMAF meeting is scheduled to approve strategies, policies and guidelines for the region’s agriculture, forestry and fisheries, and propose initiatives on cooperation with partner countries and international organisations with a view to realising targets of the ASEAN Vision to 2025 and the UN Sustainable Development Goals to 2030.
Vietnam’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Xuan Cuong said ASEAN countries have favourable conditions to form supply and value chains for farm produce and food. However, the gap in production level, resources and technology among them is hindering the common development, requiring member countries to work together to seek optimal solutions to achieve a green agriculture and inclusive and sustainable development for their agriculture and rural areas./.