As many as 350 leaders from Southeast Asian countries, international businesses, financial institutions and agricultural associations gathered at a forum in Hanoi on June 23 to seek measures to form sustainable agriculture sectors in ASEAN member nations.

In his opening speech, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Quoc Doanh underlined the need for ASEAN countries to forge links and increase investment in the field.

Vietnam and other ASEAN’s member nations are facing great challenges in meeting the increasing demand for commodities produced sustainably, he said.

According to Doanh, Vietnam has employed the public–private partnership (PPP) model in a number of fields, proving effective in the coffee industry by helping improve outputs and incomes for farmers. About 500,000 farmers are expected to get involved in PPP projects in 2017.

He expressed his hope that through the forum, participating businesses would find solutions to spur cooperation, which are necessary for increasing the output of farm produce, ensuring food security and improving the competitiveness of ASEAN agricultural commodities in international markets.

New production methods are needed to increase both the output and quality of farm produce, improve livelihoods and minimise losses and negative impacts from agricultural activities on the environment, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vu Tien Loc stressed.

Businesses will play an important role in promoting connections and sustainable agricultural development through their production and business models applying high technologies, he added.

However, he also noted that the number of enterprises in Southeast Asian nations investing in agriculture and technology is limited.

During the two-day forum, participants will contribute opinions on developing supply chains for products produced sustainably such as tea, rice, coffee, aquatic products, dairy butter and maize.

They will also discuss necessary changes to the global cultivation system to create fair opportunities for farmers running small-scale production models.-VNA