The Core Agriculture Support Program, Phase II

Partnering with the Greater Mekong Subregion to build climate-friendly agriculture and uplift lives and livelihood


The natural resource and human endowments of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) have made it a rich frontier of Asian economic growth. With over 60% of its 332 million inhabitants engaged in small-scale agriculture, the region confronts many challenges. The Core Agriculture Support Program, Phase II (CASP 2), 2011-2020, brings together the six countries of the GMS – Cambodia, Guangxi and Yunnan in the People’s Republic of China, the Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Viet Nam – in common purpose to respond to these changes while safeguarding the natural ecosystems that underpin agricultural production in the region.

The Framework for the GMS agriculture cooperation is guided by the Core Agriculture Support Program (CASP), as endorsed by the First GMS Agriculture Minister’s Meeting in April 2007, and implemented by the Working Group on Agriculture (WGA) under the 10th GMS Ministerial Conference in November 2001. CASP, which is supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and other development partners, aims to strengthen food and energy security while addressing the challenge of climate change in the region. The first phase of the program, CASP 1, 2006-2010, enhanced human and institutional capacity on regional food security, cross-border trade, and rural renewable energy.

At the 16th GMS Ministerial Meeting held in August 2010, CASP 2 was endorsed to build global competitiveness of the GMS through regional cooperation and proposes strategic directions to address new challenges to agricultural development, specifically those linked to expanding cross-border trade in agri-food products, climate change, and food and bioenergy security.

 

The overall vision of CASP 2 is for the GMS to be recognized as the leading producer of safe food, using climate-friendly agricultural practices and integrated into global markets through regional economic corridors. This vision aligns with and supports the two pillars of the ASEAN Economic Community blueprint – the creation of a single market and production base for food, agriculture, forestry, and integration of the region into the global economy.

The broad strategy of CASP 2 aims to increase subregional agricultural competitiveness and agribusiness investment through modernized trading system that provides links to regional and global markets. The foundation of the strategy includes agricultural research and technology that emphasizes climate-friendly agricultural development, private-sector involvement to ensure sustainability, and institutional mechanisms to enhance regional cooperation with incentives to achieve the vision. This strategy is supported by three main pillars and building blocks:

Pillar 1: Food Safety and Trade Modernization

Building global competitiveness by promoting food safety and modernizing agricultural trade through harmonized food safety standards and certification systems, paper-free trade and electronic traceability systems, regional sourcing of quality agri-food products, and community-based Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS).

Pillar 2: Climate-Friendly Agriculture

Promoting climate-friendly agriculture through market-based strategy to ensure food security while rewarding farmers for their ecosystem services through carbon financing for agriculture, climate-resilient farming systems, weather-based insurance system, and transboundary invasive species and animal disease control.

Pillar 3: Bioenergy and Biomass Management

Promoting agriculture as a leader in providing clean renewable rural energy and cross-border eco-friendly supply chains through regional bioenergy regulatory framework, efficient utilization of biomass for bioenergy while fostering food security, and eco-label systems for market access.

Building Blocks:
Agricultural Trade Promotion and Modernization
Harmonized Food Safety Standards in the GMS
E-commerce and IT Food Traceability System