BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- ASEAN ministers on agriculture and forestry agreed on Tuesday to enhance trade facilitation and market access of agriculture and forestry products in the region following a signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).
Among other agreements described in the MoU, the ASEAN ministers agreed to continue enhancing trade facilitation, enhancing economic integration and market access, and take into consideration that agriculture remain as important aspects of the ASEAN economy with particular significant impact on income enhancement and poverty alleviation.
They also recognized the importance of liberalizing the agriculture and forestry sectors and transforming these sectors from production-push approach to market-oriented approach.
During the opening of the 41st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (41st AMAF Meeting) earlier in the day, Brunei's Crown Prince Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah highlighted the progress of the regional cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry, signifying ASEAN's strong commitment and determination to regional cooperation in these areas.
He hoped that relations with ASEAN's Plus Three Partners (China, Japan and South Korea), Dialogue Partners as well as Development Partners continue to flourish in the future.
The Brunei Crown Prince also underscored that it is crucial to involve the youths in discussions and for the ASEAN countries to provide the right support and encouragement to enhance their role in the food security agenda.
"It is our moral obligation to create the right environment to provide access to technologies and nurture the right skills to ensure the success of our youths to become leading pioneers and innovators in the area of food and agriculture. In this regard, capacity building must also remain on top of our priority list as policymakers," he stated.
Brunei's Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Haji Ali said AMAF is tasked to formulate and implement activities in food, agriculture and forestry for the benefit of the member countries.
He said the AMAF strives towards achieving long-term food security in the region and expanding intra-ASEAN trade in food and agriculture products; enhancing cooperation and information sharing; enhancing the international competitiveness of food and agricultural products in the region; strengthening commitment in the regional disease control; combatting illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing; strengthening collaboration in research and development; and promoting sustainable use and management of natural resources.