Launch of ASEAN Safe, Nutritious Food PPP Initiative in Bangkok Yields Partnership Opportunities to Better Ensure Thailand’s Supply of Safe & Nutritious Food
(Bangkok) - 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.
About US-ASEAN Business Council
For 35 years, the US-ASEAN Business Council has been the premier advocacy organization for US corporations operating within the dynamic Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). Worldwide, the Council's membership, more than 160 companies, generate over $6 trillion in revenue and employ more than 13 million people globally. Members include the largest US companies conducting business in ASEAN, and range from newcomers to the region to companies that have been working in Southeast Asia for over 100 years. The Council has offices in: Washington, DC; New York, NY; Bangkok, Thailand; Hanoi, Vietnam; Jakarta, Indonesia; Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Manila, Philippines; and Singapore.
About CropLife Asia
CropLife Asia is a non-profit society and the regional organization of CropLife International, the voice of the global plant science industry. We advocate a safe, secure food supply, and our vision is food security enabled by innovative agriculture. CropLife Asia supports the work of 15 member associations across the continent and is led by seven member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development. For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org.
About EU-ASEAN Business Council
The EU-ASEAN Business Council (EU-ABC) is the primary and sole voice for European business covering all of the ASEAN region.
It is recognised by the European Commission and the ASEAN Secretariat and is an accredited entity under Annex 2 of the ASEAN Charter. Independent of both bodies, the Council has been established to help promote the interests of European businesses operating within ASEAN and to advocate for changes in policies and regulations which would help promote trade and investment between Europe and the ASEAN region. The Council works on a sectorial and cross industry basis to help improve the investment and trading conditions for European Businesses in the ASEAN region through influencing policy and decision makers throughout the region and in the EU, as well as acting as a platform for the exchange of information and ideas amongst its members and regional players within the ASEAN region.
The EU-ABC’s membership consists of large European Multi-National Corporations and the nine European Chambers of Commerce from around Southeast Asia. The EU-ABC represents a diverse range of European industries cutting across almost every commercial sphere from car manufacturing through to financial services and including Fast Moving Consumer Goods and high-end electronics and communications. Our members all have a vested interest in enhancing trade, commerce and investment between Europe and ASEAN.
The Executive Director of the EU-ASEAN Business Council is Mr Chris Humphrey, and its Chairman is Mr Donald Kanak. The Council is led by an elected Board consisting of corporate leaders representing a range of important industry sectors and representatives of the European Chambers of Commerce.
For more information please contact:
Associate - Communications, Marketing and Public Affairs
US-ASEAN Business Council
Director, Public Affairs & Strategic Partnerships
Tel: (65) 6221 1615
External Communications & Events Manager
EU-ASEAN Business Council
Tel: +65 9880 2261