VP CITES ROLE OF AGRICULTURE AND
FORESTRY IN ACHIEVING ONE ASEAN
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.
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.
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.
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
among ASEAN countries.
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.
President De Castro also emphasized the need to fast-track the
establishment of the animal health trust fund as approved in the 24th
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
Ref. VPMEDIA 05-139