Thailand becomes a part of the ASEAN agriculture-MSME development plan

ASEAN countries moving closer to consensus on private sector-led agriculture-MSME Development plan

The ASEAN Business Advisory Council (ABAC) Thailand has officially signed on to the region-wide private sector-led agriculture-MSME Development plan, which was initially introduced in the Philippines.

This move by Thailand brings the ASEAN BACs of nine ASEAN-member states close to reaching a consensus on bringing together agriculture companies from the private sector to explore potential joint business ventures, as well as to increase trade and investment within the region.

Joey Concepcion, chairman of ABAC Philippines, expressed his enthusiasm for the agreement, stating that it is a significant win for ASEAN, its MSMEs, as well as agriculture and food security in the region. He emphasized that successful ventures through regional partnerships could lead to the development of the agriculture sector by involving more players across the value chain, particularly farmers and fisherfolk.

The signing took place during the 99th ASEAN BAC Council Meeting in Lao PDR, with the areas of collaboration with Thailand covering rice, banana, vegetables, and palm oil.

ABAC Philippines initiated the project in partnership with each ASEAN member-state, with Malaysia being the first to sign its MOU last July. This was followed by the ABACs of Brunei, Cambodia, Singapore, Laos, Myanmar, and Indonesia, who all signed last September during the ASEAN Business Investment Summit.

The MOUs focused on exploring joint partnerships in knowledge and technology development, trade and investment opportunities, research and development, and strategies in sustainable agriculture, among others.

These partnerships are modeled after Go Negosyo’s Kapatid Angat Lahat sa Agri Program (KALAP), which aims to integrate small farmers into the value chain of large agri companies. Joey Concepcion is also the founder of Go Negosyo.

It was also decided during the meetings in Laos that the Philippines should chair the technical working group on Food Security of ASEAN BAC in 2024.

An initial trade mission has been planned for April 23 and 24, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to facilitate engagement between key industry players from the Philippines and Malaysia, as part of the MOU implementation.

The objective of this trade mission is to explore collaborative opportunities and exchange best practices in various sectors, including oil palm, rubber, rice, dairy, poultry, pineapples, durian, banana, coconut, and corn, in order to generate mutual commercial benefits for both parties.

Other ASEAN BAC member countries who have endorsed the MOU will also embark on similar trade missions in the future.

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