EU-ABC Jointly Conducts ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative Workshop with CropLife Asia and U

Thailand Food Value Chain Public & Private Sectors Discuss State of Nation’s Safe, Nutritious Food Supply with International Experts

Launch of ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative in Bangkok Yields Partnership Opportunities to Better Ensure Thailand’s Supply of Safe & Nutritious Food

Bangkok, 01 April 2019 – CropLife Asia, EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) and US-ASEAN Business Council (US-ABC) jointly conducted a workshop in Bangkok last Monday with national, regional and international food value chain stakeholders that signaled the official launch of the ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative. The three organizations have joined forces to form this new Alliance to lead a discussion around factors supporting a safe and nutritious supply of food in the region as well as help foster greater partnership between public and private sectors across the food value chain.

The Initiative’s inaugural national workshop held in Bangkok brought more than 30 Thailand Government officers and other national food chain stakeholders together with international and regional industry experts for a ‘farm-to-fork’ dialogue. The workshop was conducted in conjunction with the Responsible Business Forum – Food and Agriculture held at the Royal Orchid Sheraton Hotel.

“This is a key strategic initiative by three of the more important international business associations covering the ASEAN region. Ensuring that what we eat is both safe and nutritious is key for the region. ASEAN is a region of undoubted potential, and part of that potential comes from its people. So, we need to work collaboratively together, with governments and a broad church of the private sector, to make sure the people of the region are eating food that is both good for them and safe to consume,” said Chris Humphrey, Executive Director of EU-ABC.

The workshop included a series of best-practice panels where ‘successes and setbacks’ in the various components that make up the food value chain in Thailand were discussed. This was followed by an interactive session where public and private sector stakeholders highlighted areas within the safe and nutritious food supply chain where greater partnership would be beneficial. The specific workshop panels included:

  • Thailand Farmers’ Ability to Grow Safe and Nutritious Food
  • Farm to Market in Thailand
  • Thailand Consumer Awareness & Actions around Safe and Nutritious Food

“We are pleased to partner with our colleagues at the EU-ABC and CropLife Asia to make this inaugural session a success, especially as it focuses on such a critical theme where there remains great potential for collaborations,” said Ambassador Michael Michalak, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director of the US-ASEAN Business Council. “Alongside the successes of economic growth and rising incomes in ASEAN, the security of food and access to nutrition are still vulnerable to threats such as price or supply fluctuations and the growing impacts of climate change. Food Security continues to be one of the core foundations of the Council’s Food & Agriculture Committee work, and the Council and its members remain committed to working with the various governments across ASEAN to ensure its citizens have a safe and nutritious food supply chain.”

One strength of the workshop was the diversity of perspectives and learnings that were shared. Non-governmental participants included representatives from BASF, Bayer Crop Science, Cargill, GiZ and Tyson Foods. Thailand Government officers participating included representatives from the Ministry of Agriculture & Cooperatives (including the Department of Agriculture), the Ministry of Public Health and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment. Among the recommendations arising from discussion were: better education of both farmers and consumers in determining what constitutes safe and quality food; ensuring effective mechanisms and platforms are in place to spur collaboration on the various aspects of the topic; and creating an environment where shared trust and commitment can ensure sustainable partnerships that deliver results.

“There’s a storm brewing in Asia. While more than half the world’s malnourished children and some 486 million undernourished people call our region home, we also hold the dubious distinction of having the fastest growing prevalence of childhood obesity in the world. This ‘double burden’ challenge of low nutrition and rising obesity rates, is creating this storm and quite a challenge,” said Dr Sianghee Tan.

Dr Sianghee Tan added, “The launch of the ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative and workshop with Thailand food value chain stakeholders is a good first step – but it’s only that, a first step. We look forward to continuing this conversation in Thailand and across the region to ensure effective shared solutions that leverage strong partnerships.”

The next national workshop planned by the Alliance is tentatively scheduled for Vietnam in Q2 2019.