The ASEAN Climate Resilience Network (ASEAN-CRN) members participated in the 2nd knowledge exchange of the Agrinnovation Fund in ASEAN (AIF) on 29 June 2022. The event aims to promote innovations, climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices, public-private partnership and cooperation in the agricultural value chains.
Organized in a hybrid form, the event consisted of two parts. The morning session was for AIF partners and GIZ to discuss the overall progress, challenges, and lessons learned in the AIF implementation. The second part in the afternoon was a public event for stakeholders, including ASEAN-CRN to exchange CSA practices focusing on climate-related topics.
Exchange on the AIF Climate-related Projects
In the opening, Ms Pouchamarn Wongsanga, Regional Component Leader, ASEAN AgriTrade Project, GIZ, welcomed and thanked all participants for joining the event. She provided a brief overview of the ASEAN AgriTrade project and the AIF implementation in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV) in cooperation with public and private partners.
“Climate issues increasingly become a priority topic, as it continues to affect agriculture and food production. Therefore, we need to work together, strengthening our partnership and collaboration among public and private stakeholders to find ways to overcome these challenges,” said Ms Wongsanga. The 2nd AIF Exchange Event brought up climate and CSA practices topic as a highlighted theme.
From December 2021 to October 2023, the AIF and partners will implement 27 innovations, throughout various value chains in agriculture, from processing methods, incorporating climate-friendly approaches to digital solutions, involving 2,300 smallholder farmers in CLMV countries.
Challenges and Opportunities of CSA Practices in the Regional Level
The afternoon session, attended by some 117 participants, brought together experts, policymakers and the private sector to share CSA practices, including challenges and opportunities.
All speakers acknowledged that the agriculture sector is affected by and, at the same time, contributes to climate change. In their presentation, the speakers identified challenges in applying CSA practices. For example, smallholder farmers’ low interest in adopting the CSA practices, upscaling activities, relevant policy frameworks to support implementation, access to financial sources and complexities in technology use.
Addressing challenges posed by climate change, particularly in the agriculture sector, will require, among others, multi-sector approaches, cooperation and collaboration among stakeholders, supporting policy and frameworks, financial support, and relevant technology.
The ASEAN-CRN Coordinator, Ms Imelda Bacudo, underlined the importance of increasing the resilience of agriculture and food security, which had been identified as critical priorities in the region to address the challenges posed by climate change. She pointed out various initiatives and frameworks including the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework, and frameworks/initiatives under the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) which refers to the CSA practices, enhancing regional and international collaboration, and improving access to financial resources crucial for the regional recovery post-pandemic.
Since its establishment in 2014, the ASEAN-CRN continues to serve as a platform for regional exchange to promote the CSA and policy frameworks at the regional level. More information is available on the ASEAN-CRN website.
Mr Mohammad Hariz Bin Abdul Rahman, Senior Research Officer, Climate Change Program, Malaysian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MARDI) and ASEAN-CRN focal point, presented CSA implementation at the country level by showcasing Malaysia’s example. He highlighted the linkages between research and policy to support CSA. Financing and technological adaptation are the main issues and challenges in adopting CSA.
Mr Abdul Rahman talked about crucial elements of adaptation and mitigation, where CSA application should also emphasize sustainable food production. He highlighted that research and policy could support CSA practices, mainly assisting the government’s commitment to reducing emissions. This will be reflected in the country’s Nationally determined contributions (NDCs) in the UNFCCC context as part of a global effort to reduce emissions as described in the Paris Agreement.
Dr Tan Siang Hee, Executive Director, CropLife Asia, shared the private sector’s perspective. He underlined that innovation in the agriculture sector, supporting policy frameworks, infrastructure, and better education on agricultural technologies and sciences are most important in managing the impact of climate change on the farmer’s level.
Digitalisation and technology to support the CSA practices were presented by Ms Victoria Clause, Climate Smart Agriculture and Technology Expert, Mercy Corps AgriFin and Ms Sharmeen Khan, Founder/Chief Marketing Officer OpsSmart Technologies.
Ms Clause cited implementation from Mercy Corps’ AgriFin programme in Africa. Showcasing Sprout, an open content agriculture digital platform launched in September 2021, she highlighted digital innovation could serve as solutions for agriculture-related information sharing, market access, early warning system and capacity building for farmers.
Ms Khan talked about traceability in agriculture, using digital technology to utilise the data to track food products from production to consumption. She highlighted the importance of data harmonisation in the global value chain market to enable farmers and stakeholders to participate worldwide. Ms Khan underlined the importance of farmers organising themselves. A group approach such as a farmer cooperative will strengthen farmers’ position to have better access to information, financial, technology and market access.
The event was organised together with Grow Asia and Mekong Institute. The AIF implementation is under the ASEAN-German Cooperation Project “ASEAN AgriTrade” with funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH in collaboration with public partners and relevant private companies/organisations.
Event documentation 2nd AIF Knowledge-sharing and Networking Event
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Photos : GIZ/Diella Dachlan