Agricultural Development and Commercialization

In a significant step towards enhancing agricultural resilience in Southeast Asia, Mekong Institute (MI) has partnered with Thailand’s Department of Agriculture (DOA) and Sanyu Consultants Inc. (SCI) to advance regional cooperation on crop insurance through the project ‘Promotion of Crop Insurance in ASEAN through Public and Private Partnership’, which was launched during a hybrid kickoff workshop held on February 27, 2024, in Bangkok, Thailand, and simultaneously via Zoom.

Supported by the Japan-ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF), the half-day workshop was attended by 58 representatives from the ASEAN Member States (AMS), ASEAN Secretariat and development partners.

“Despite the varied agricultural conditions and social contexts across ASEAN, there exist common threads that bind us. The cultivation of farmer awareness and understanding of agricultural insurance, the adoption of digital technologies, and the involvement of the private sector stand out as important areas for developing efficient and effective insurance systems,” highlighted by Dr. Pongthai Thaiyotin, Deputy Director General of the DOA, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. He added that the workshop will not only mark the commencement of the project but will also lay the groundwork for a series of technical workshops aimed at tackling a number of challenges and prospects in crop insurance.

During the workshop, SCI presented the initial results of the stocktaking survey conducted in the AMS. It was revealed that insurance schemes and implementations vary in stages and types, with evolving experiences. While developing a unified system may not be feasible, sharing experiences to build capacity is seen as beneficial for the effective implementation of crop insurance.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn, Executive Director of MI, emphasized that crop insurance emerges as a multi-sector initiative, underscoring the necessity of bringing together all stakeholders. He pointed out the need to examine the role of industries in supporting farmers, the potential involvement of the private sector, and the exploration of insurance startups. He also advocated for a conscientious approach to further designing the capacity building activities under the project.

The workshop marked the initial engagement of the AMS in the project, building on the Inception Meeting held in December 2023. During this earlier meeting, the project team from MI, DOA, Sanyu Consultants Inc., and the ASEAN Secretariat convened to forge a common understanding, outline project expectations, and enhance communication channels among each other.

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