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ERIA President Addresses ASEAN-Japan 50th Anniversary Symposium on Sustainable Agriculture and Innovation

21 November 2023

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Jakarta, 21 November 2023: The Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) supported organisation of the ASEAN-Japan Friendship and Cooperation 50th Anniversary Symposium titled ‘Promoting Resilient and Sustainable Agriculture and Food System through Innovation: ASEAN's Initiatives and Japan's Contribution’. The symposium was held on 21 November at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta, co-hosted by the ASEAN Secretariat and the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan. Tetsuya Watanabe, the President of ERIA, officially announced this event during the Meeting of ASEAN-Japan Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry on 4 October 2023 in Kuala Lumpur.

The symposium aimed to facilitate the mutual sharing of recent policy initiatives, knowledge, and technologies on building resilient and sustainable agriculture and food systems to ensure food security in the region. Approximately 130 participants from government, the private sector, and academia from ASEAN Member States (AMSs), Timor Leste, Japan and other ASEAN Development Partners attended this symposium.

During the opening session, President Watanabe delivered welcoming remarks. Subsequently, Satvinder Singh, Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for the ASEAN Economic Community, Ryosuke Ogawa, Vice-Minister for International Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries (MAFF), Japan, and Masahiko Kiya, Ambassador of the Mission of Japan to ASEAN, delivered speeches expressing their congratulations on the event and their expectations for cooperation between ASEAN and Japan.  

In his address, President Watanabe emphasized ERIA’s active support for the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Sustainable Agriculture. He also announced ERIA’s upcoming project to accelerate the digital transformation of agri-food systems in ASEAN. President Watanabe highlighted the significance of ERIA’s initiative, the ‘ERIA Digital Innovation and Sustainable Economy Centre (E-DISC)’, stressing its pivotal role as a platform for multi-stakeholder engagement including farmers and agri-businesses, and functioning as a hub for human resource development. He concluded by stating, ‘This symposium provides a unique opportunity to explore cooperation and pave the way for realising sustainable agriculture and food systems through innovation’.

DSG Satvinder Singh highlighted the implementation of the ASEAN Regional Guidelines on Sustainable Agriculture, the development of practical action plans on sustainable agriculture, the carbon neutrality, the carbon market, and the reduction of harmful agrochemical inputs. He encouraged AMSs, ASEAN Development Partners, and the private sector to collaborate in developing agricultural sustainability across the region. He welcomed the launch of E-DISC and expressed hopes for its role in bolstering agriculture sustainability in ASEAN.

Following the opening session, government representatives from AMSs presented ASEAN’s agriculture policy initiatives, including the ‘ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Response to Crises,’ while MAFF Japan presented its agricultural cooperation strategy, the ‘ASEAN-Japan MIDORI Cooperation Plan.’ A panel discussion among agribusinesses from AMSs and Japan enlightened participants about innovations contributing to sustainable agriculture and food systems realisation.

The symposium included a booth corner for private companies, such as Japan Premium Vegetable, showcasing innovations in strawberry cultivation and IT greenhouse technology in Indonesia. Additionally, participants experienced demonstrations of Japanese cuisines, including sushi making, fish filleting shows, and various other Japanese dishes during the lunch break.

ERIA reaffirmed its commitment to the sustainable development of the food and agriculture sector through its research and other activities.

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