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Kabayan Forum

                                                                                                          Refer to: Ms. Dale Zapata


30 September 2005


With the much-needed boost from the United Nations (UN), through Secretary General Kofi Anan in the recent 2nd Association of Southeast Asian Nation (ASEAN)-UN summit in New York only this month, Vice President Noli ‘Kabayan’ De Castro urged members of the ASEAN ministers on agriculture and forestry or AMAF and AMAF plus partners China, Korea, and Japan or the so-called AMAF plus three partners, to further intensify their efforts in providing greater attention to agriculture and food security in achieving one ASEAN community.

In his speech to open the 27th meeting of the AMAF and the 5th meeting of the AMAF plus three partners at the Taal Vista Hotel, Tagaytay City, Vice President De Castro underscored the need for the ASEAN member nations to remain focused on the goals agreed upon in the 10th ASEAN summit in Vientiane that paved the way for the Vientiane Action Programme or VAP, a six-year plan that serves as a vehicle towards building an ASEAN community through comprehensive integration.     


The Vice President explained that the successful integration of priority economic sectors would surely contribute to the improvement of the economies of ASEAN member countries and help in the implementation of the millennium development goals (MDGs) on the way to reaching the world food summit target of cutting hunger by half in the year 2020. These sectors, including agriculture, fisheries and forestry --- the sectors where ASEAN countries have comparative advantage --- through projects outlined by the AMAF ministers.


Vice President De Castro believes that the other vision by year 2020 for the ASEAN economic community to be a single market and production base with free flow of goods, services, investment, skilled labor and capital would also be realized in closing the development gaps among ASEAN countries.   


The Vice President also made special mention of the need to continue working together in addressing urgent issues, such as the control and eradication of highly infectious diseases like avian flu, bird flu and swine fever which continue to threaten the gains in the agriculture sector. Though pleased with AMAF’s efforts to strengthen animal disease control programs, he expressed his desire to see the work plan prepared by the ASEAN highly pathogenic avian influenza task force implemented very soon.


Vice President De Castro also emphasized the need to fast-track the establishment of the animal health trust fund as approved in the 24th AMAF.


In addition, the Vice President encouraged the participants to also look at all the other notable cooperation activities within the ASEAN community, such as food security and food safety, harmonization of phytosanitary measures and maximum residue levels, ASEAN standards for horticulture products, fisheries, forestry, research, extension and cooperatives.


In so doing, Vice President De Castro is optimistic that the medium and long term ASEAN goals would be certainly achieved.


Ref. VPMEDIA 05-139                                                                                             HOME | back-to-top

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