Regional: Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program

Project Name Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program
Project Number 53391-001
Country / Economy Regional
Lao People's Democratic Republic
China, People's Republic of
Viet Nam
Project Status Active
Project Type / Modality of Assistance Technical Assistance
Source of Funding / Amount
TA 9916-REG: Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program
Technical Assistance Special Fund US$ 3.00 million
Climate Change Fund US$ 750,000.00
TA 9916-REG: Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program
People's Republic of China Poverty Reduction and Regional Cooperation Fund US$ 750,000.00
TA 9916-REG: Greater Mekong Subregion Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Program
Regional Cooperation and Integration Fund US$ 1.00 million
Operational Priorities OP1: Addressing remaining poverty and reducing inequalities
OP2: Accelerating progress in gender equality
OP3: Tackling climate change, building climate and disaster resilience, and enhancing environmental sustainability
OP5: Promoting rural development and food security
OP6: Strengthening governance and institutional capacity
OP7: Fostering regional cooperation and integration
Sector / Subsector

Agriculture, natural resources and rural development / Agricultural policy, institutional and capacity development - Agricultural production - Agriculture research and application - Agro-industry, marketing, and trade - Land-based natural resources management - Livestock - Rural flood protection - Water-based natural resources management

Health / Disease control of communicable disease

Information and communication technology / ICT industries and ICT-enabled services - ICT strategy and policy, and capacity development

Gender Effective gender mainstreaming

The TA is aligned with the following impact: GMS as a leading supplier of safe and climate-friendly agri-food products realized. The TA will have the following outcome: investments and capacities for climate-friendly, safe and sustainable agri-food value chains increased.

Output 1: Climate-friendly, inclusive and gender-conscious agri-food value chains and agribusinesses strengthened. This output will build capacities to implement climate-smart agriculture, pilot innovative technologies and mobilize financing for agribusinesses. Sub-output 1 on promoting green, inclusive and gender-conscious agri-food value chains will (i) identify policies and measures for promoting clean energy and reducing water consumption, food losses and waste in selected agri-food value chains while effectively integrating gender concerns; (ii) strengthen capacities of smallholders and agribusinesses along the value chain, including women farmers and entrepreneurs, on low carbon green supply chain management, agribusiness skills, value addition, and climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices through private-public partnerships; and (iii) conduct pilots on green supply chain management (e.g., nitrogen use efficiency and green water management) in selected agri-food value chains.

Sub-output 2 on financing climate-smart agribusinesses will (i) propose measures for improving financial preparedness of small and medium agribusinesses, with specific focus on job creation for women; (ii) build capacities on green financing options for agribusinesses; and (iii) support a competitive grant scheme to small and medium agribusinesses to scale up low-carbon good manufacturing practices. Agricultural digital finance service aimed at women farmers and entrepreneurs will also be piloted.

Output 2: Harmonized crop and livestock safety and quality systems adopted. Key activities on food safety and quality standards, certification and traceability include support for (i) harmonizing GMS policies and standards related to food safety and quality assurance, certification (e.g., organic, good agricultural practices, good manufacturing practices, geographic indications), accreditation, surveillance, and laboratories; (ii) establishing a platform to facilitate information exchange, coordination and food risk communication strategies; and (iii) conducting pilots on using digital technologies (e.g., artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, blockchain technologies) for food traceability and quality assurance to promote domestic and regional trade and ensure compliance with international food safety systems. Another sub-output on cross-border animal health and value chains improvement will support (i) safety policies and legislation on livestock, livestock products, and feed control; (ii) capacity strengthening for animal health workers to improve service delivery, control transboundary animal diseases and anti-microbial resistance; and (iii) piloting of advanced digital technologies for livestock identification and traceability to ensure compliance with international safety systems.

Output 3: Agricultural adaptation in the context of water-food-energy-climate nexus enhanced. Key activities include (i) preparing sub-regional assessments to prioritize activities critical to producing more food per drop of water; (ii) training government staff on climate-resilient water management options and water accounting in various climate change scenarios; and (iii) conducting pilots on climate-adaptive water management. Sub-output on water-food-energy-climate nexus will (i) establish a GMS platform to conduct policy dialogues on options to reduce water, energy, carbon and environmental footprints of agricultural practices and identify no-regrets' strategies that can make GMS agri-food systems resilient to climate change; (ii) integrate nexus thinking in climate change action plans of agriculture and related ministries, and in project design; and (iii) conducting pilots on agricultural adaptation that proactively consider water-food-energy nexus (e.g., solar irrigation, agricultural waste to energy for food processing).

Project Rationale and Linkage to Country/Regional Strategy

Agriculture remains crucial to the GMS, with more than 70% of population in rural areas directly dependent on livelihoods for agriculture. The growth in agriculture has contributed to the strong expansion of the GMS economies since the 1990s. Intra-GMS trade values and shares have grown consistently from $5 billion (2%) in 1992 to $483 billion (9.3%) in 2017. The GMS generated approximately $89 billion in agricultural commodity exports, making the subregion a surplus area for agri-food commodities.

In 2017, GMS agriculture ministers envisioned the GMS to become a leading supplier of safe, quality and climate-friendly agri-food products. Realizing such vision, however, depends on overcoming multiple barriers along the agricultural value chains. Poor rural infrastructure coupled with numerous, fragmented small-scale farmers and small- and medium-sized agribusinesses has led to high inefficiencies in energy, water, and waste management along the value chain, higher production costs, lower crop yields and lower profitability for farmers and agribusinesses. Limited awareness and access to affordable financing for agribusinesses continue to limit their growth, productivity and competitiveness. Also, most agri-food value chains do not empower women, even though they make up more than 50 percent of all farmers.

Growing global concerns on food safety, food scares and outbreaks have increased GMS consumer awareness on safety and quality. The World Health Organization of the United Nations estimated occurrence of 150 million cases of foodborne illnesses in Southeast Asia each year. GMS countries are particularly prone to increased health risks from the rising volumes of informal trade in agri-food products that occur across GMS borders with little control over quality and food safety. The GMS potential for agri-food exports is also constrained by the lack of harmonized safety and quality assurance systems, and ineffective control of transboundary animal diseases.

Agriculture is one of the most vulnerable sectors to impacts of climate change. It is also by far the largest consumer of water, accounting for nearly 70% consumption while facing growing competition from urbanization and industrialization. By 2030, the demand for water is projected to exceed availability by 40%, primary energy demand by 40%, and agriculture needs to produce 30-50% more food. Water, energy and food security are thus interrelated, and interventions in one sector have impacts for another. Worsening impacts of climate change and unsustainable agricultural practices is expected to exacerbate water scarcity, limit agricultural productivity, and reduce water availability in areas where demand for irrigation remains high. Promoting agricultural adaptation in the context of water-food-energy nexus is thus critical. Agriculture also contributes significantly to climate change, accounting for an estimated 14% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Projections suggest that annual greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture should be reduced by as much as 75% to hold global warming below 2oC above pre-industrial temperatures.

Weak policy and regulatory frameworks, limited knowledge and capacity of stakeholders, ineffective uptake of appropriate technologies, and inadequate financing limit the opportunities for the GMS in achieving enhanced market access and economies of scale for safe, inclusive, climate-smart agri-food products. Limited cooperation on cross-border issues, regional public goods, and harmonization of agri-food quality and safety standards also hampers progress in effective integration of the subregion in global agribusiness markets.

Targeted capacity strengthening and policy support to mobilize investments in inclusive, climate-smart, and gender-conscious agri-food value chains is vital to tackle the above barriers. Likewise, piloting options to enhance sustainable and affordable financing for small and medium agribusinesses, and measures to promote harmonization of food safety and quality standards are critical to enhance access to regional and global markets. Deploying climate-adaptive agricultural practices and technologies are critical to address trade-offs in food-energy-water nexus.

The proposed KSTA will address strategic issues for fostering sub-regional cooperation in sustainable agriculture and food security through conducting feasibility studies and pilot activities, and providing policy, advisory, and knowledge support. It aims to create an enabling environment that will enhance economic, social and environmental benefits to GMS stakeholders from access to markets and safer food products. The GMS Working Group on Agriculture (WGA), at its 16th Annual Meeting held in Luang Prabang, Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) in June 2019, identified six themes for ADB support.


GMS vision of being a leading supplier of safe and climate-friendly agri-food products realized

Project Outcome
Description of Outcome

GMS investments in and capacity for climate-friendly, safe, and sustainable agrifood value chains increased.

Progress Toward Outcome
Implementation Progress
Description of Project Outputs

Climate-friendly, inclusive, and gender-responsive agri-food value chains and agribusinesses strengthened

Harmonized crop and livestock safety and quality systems adopted

Climate-adaptive agriculture in the context of the water energy food security nexus enhanced.

Status of Implementation Progress (Outputs, Activities, and Issues)
Geographical Location Cambodia - Nation-wide; China - Nation-wide; Lao People's Democratic Republic - Nation-wide; Myanmar - Nation-wide; Thailand - Nation-wide; Viet Nam - Nation-wide
Summary of Environmental and Social Aspects
Environmental Aspects
Involuntary Resettlement
Indigenous Peoples
Stakeholder Communication, Participation, and Consultation
During Project Design
During Project Implementation
Responsible ADB Officer Ancha, Srinivasan
Responsible ADB Department Sectors Group
Responsible ADB Division Agriculture, Food, Nature, and Rural Development Sector Office (SG-AFNR)
Executing Agencies
Asian Development Bank
Concept Clearance 22 Nov 2019
Fact Finding 19 Oct 2019 to 19 Oct 2019
Approval 18 Dec 2019
Last Review Mission -
Last PDS Update 19 Dec 2019

TA 9916-REG

Approval Signing Date Effectivity Date Closing
Original Revised Actual
18 Dec 2019 - 18 Dec 2019 31 Mar 2025 - -
Financing Plan/TA Utilization Cumulative Disbursements
ADB Cofinancing Counterpart Total Date Amount
Gov Beneficiaries Project Sponsor Others
4,750,000.00 750,000.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 0.00 5,500,000.00 22 Nov 2023 1,200,013.38

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