The Agrinnovation Fund in ASEAN (AIF) was established to foster market-driven innovations in the agricultural value chains, from the production and processing to marketing and market access while promoting quality and sustainability standards. Mekong Institute (MI) is pleased to be part of this partnership to support AIF’s activities in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Viet Nam (CLMV) in collaboration with public and private partners, and GIZ.

On December 13 – 14, 2022, seventy participants from the public and private sectors in Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Viet Nam (CLMV) gathered for peer-to-peer exchanges and networking at the third series of the AIF knowledge-sharing and networking event in Bangkok. The event’s theme was “Advancing Partnership and Innovation for Post COVID-19 Recovery and Transitioning Towards Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in ASEAN”.

At the opening session, the AIF management committee from the public and private sector in CLMV expressed appreciation and their pleasure at being part of the AIF.

On the first day, AIF partners set up country stations and presented highlight achievements of their projects. Each country showcased their products ranging from fresh watermelon, cashew nuts, solar dried bananas, dried butterfly pea flowers, to food products such as paste, food seasoning, and snacks made from mushroom, chili, and ginger.

Of the 27 AIF projects, 11 projects are in Cambodia, 6 in Lao PDR, 6 in Myanmar and 4 in Viet Nam. Four projects have recently been completed in Cambodia, and 2 in Myanmar.

On the second day, participants kicked off the programme with a group work exercise. Each country group identified challenges faced in partnership and innovations in their own country. Groups then visited the other country groups and gave suggestions and recommendations to overcome the challenges.

“During the exercise, I realized that we have similar challenges. The suggestions by colleagues from different countries offered fresh perspectives,” said one participant. In concluding the exercise, the groups selected recommendations to take home and implement in their own country.

Guest speakers joined the last part of the event, sharing insights into the ASEAN policy framework, initiatives and lessons on partnership and innovation in the agricultural value chain. Key priorities identified were scaling up efforts, awareness raising amongst consumers to create demand for sustainably produced products, and access to funds for sustainability initiatives and innovation.

The initiatives shared included the ASEAN Access platform that provides market information and virtual business matchmaking for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in ASEAN, lessons and experience in Forest Landscape Restoration (FLR) implementation by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) – Thailand, insights on work by MI, and on digital innovations on traceability by the Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture Food Security Programme.

AIF was initiated under the “Promotion of Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains in ASEAN”, funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). To date, the AIF has supported 27 development partnership projects with the private sector in CLMV countries involving some 2,300 farmers to enhance production, improve safety, quality, and sustainability in agricultural value chains.

Adapted from:https://www.thai-german-cooperation.info/en_US/partnerships-and-innovation-to-shape-aseans-sustainable-agriculture/

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