Agriculture makes a substantial economic contribution to most APEC member economies, and the issues of food security and safety are of critical importance to the region.

The objective of the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) is to enhance agriculture's contribution to the region's economic growth and social well-being by promoting agricultural technical cooperation between APEC members. The ATCWG's objectives are to improve the capacity of agriculture and its related industries and to share information and experiences in the areas of agriculture, biotechnology, and animal and biogenetic resource management. Priority is given to projects and activities that build members' capacities to increase trade in agricultural products.

This work contributes to APEC's trade facilitation agenda by reducing business transaction costs, enhancing marketing capacity and improving the implementation of agriculture-related provisions in free trade agreements (FTAs).

In recent years, APEC Leaders have charged the ATCWG with: strengthening food safety standards; responding to food security challenges; promoting the development of next-generation sustainable biofuels; enhancing agriculture's ability to adjust and mitigate the impact of climate change; and strengthening technological cooperation in the strategic planning of ATCWG projects. The development of capacity building programmes in these areas is now a core ATCWG activity.

The ATCWG is composed of government officials and experts from academia.

Current Activities

The 19th Annual Meeting of the APEC Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) was held during 28-29 September 2015 in Iloilo, Philippines.

The outcomes of ATCWG projects implemented during 2014-2015 were reported at the Meeting.

Conference on Enhancing Global Value Chains in the Asia-Pacific Agriculture and Food Sector (Japan) 

APEC is working to enhance value chains of production, processing and marketing in the Asia-Pacific agriculture and food sector in order to increase the industry’s competitiveness. A two-day conference was held in June 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, to foster awareness of global value chains in the sector and to encourage APEC member economies to develop their own initiatives. The conference included an overview of the development of value chains in the Asia-Pacific food and agriculture industry from empirical research. The experience of several economies in integrating the food and agriculture industry, particularly in Southeast Asia, was also shared highlighting key factors required to develop value chains including productive capacity, infrastructure, institutionalization and business environment. The experience of the private sector was also discussed with a view to identify potential constraints in the region.

Summary of the Conference outcomes can be viewed here. 

Scientific Workshop on Measurement and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases in Livestock Systems for Green Production and Environment of APEC Members (Thailand)

Greenhouse gas emissions from the global agricultural sector is around 14% of total emissions. One of the priorities for climate change in livestock production is to build the capacity to measure and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions from livestock systems. A three-day technical training workshop was held in December 2014 in Bangkok, Thailand, to improve understanding of the diversity of livestock management systems in APEC member economies, greenhouse gas emissions and the special characteristics of those systems. The workshop also aimed to identify opportunities for future collaboration and coordinated capacity building activities in livestock mitigation research across member economies.

Report and outcomes of the workshop can be viewed and downloaded here.

Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Training and Symposium (China)

Affected by climate change, energy security and other non-traditional factors, food security remains an important challenge to the APEC economies. Promotion of a shared experience, strengthening of coordination, better research and monitoring methods on food security issues, would enable APEC economies to better respond to the regional and global food security challenges. A three-day symposium was held during 7-9 September 2015 in Beijing, China, to promote communications among APEC economies’ food security researchers and experts, build interest on food security strategies, enhance research capacity and offer policy recommendations to improve food security. The training and workshop identified existing methodologies, tools and best practices of food security researches. Outputs included a food security experts’ database, a compendium of research papers, methodologies, tools, and best practices, a workshop report and more than 30 trained researchers.

Report and outcomes of the symposium can be viewed and downloaded here.

Collaborative Research, Development and Extension Program on Climate Change among APEC Member Economies (Philippines)

APEC recognises climate change as one of the biggest global challenges, and its impact on agriculture and food security has always been given much importance in APEC Leaders and Ministerial Declarations. A two-day symposium was held during 16-17 September 2015 in Makati City, the Philippines, to explore possible collaborative research, development and extension work on the development of climate change-resilient agriculture in the whole ecosystem among APEC economies. Discussions focused on the Economy’s reports of priority concerns and current technologies/strategies for climate change adaptation and mitigation for the agriculture sector, existing institutional platforms/framework, RDE gaps and other limitations. There were also presentations on the Umbrella Programs on Food and Nutrition Security and Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation in Southeast Asia, and the Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research (CGIAR).

Report and outcomes of the symposium can be viewed and downloaded here.

High Level Public-Private Forum on Cold Chain to Strengthen Agriculture and Food's Global Value Chain (Japan)

Establishing and upgrading cold chain contributes to food security by reducing food losses, and to empowering of agriculture by involving agriculture and food producers into global value chain. A three-day forum was held during 28-30 October 2015 in Kagoshima, Japan, to assess the current situations, share experiences and knowledge, and identify best practices on establishment of cold chain system among APEC economies. Fiscal burden for the investment for cold chains infrastructures and technical transfer on knowledge and know-hows on cold chains management were highlighted as common challenges. Participants also welcomed Japan’s proposal on a creation of “Cold Chains Forum” to discuss any issues regarding cold chains, including policy, technology, and new products. This web-based one-year trial project will be conducted by Japan with the support of Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA).

Report and outcomes of the conference can be viewed and downloaded here

Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain (Chinese Taipei)

According to the United Nations, roughly one-third of the edible parts of food produced for human consumption is lost or wasted globally, which is about 1.3 billion tons per year. Over a five year period, this project aims to address post-harvest losses at all stages of the entire food supply chain in the APEC region by strengthening public-private partnerships. As part of the first phase of the project, a workshop was held in 2013 in Chinese Taipei that identified key issues and challenges in post-harvest food losses, formulated a preliminary methodology on food crops, and deliberated on strategies and action plans for APEC economies. Building on these outcomes, a workshop on reducing fruit and vegetable food losses in the supply chain was held in 2014 in China. A workshop on reducing food losses in fishery and livestock products was held in September 2015 in the Philippines. The annual workshop in Peru to be held on the sideline of the 2016 APEC Food Security Week will focus on the food wastes issues related to food consumption. Based on outcomes from these workshops, the project will continue to revise the drafted methodology of APEC food losses assessment. The final phase of the project in 2017 will generate policy recommendations, action plans, toolkit and dataset, and a consolidated methodology of APEC food losses assessment - culminating in a high-level policy dialogue meeting in order to achieve APEC food security goals.

20th ATCWG Meeting: The ATCWG 2016 Annual Meeting is scheduled to be held between 21-22 September 2016 in the City of Piura, Peru, as part of the APEC Food Security Week.

Achievements

The ATCWG provides strong technical expertise to related APEC fora. In 2010, ATCWG provided support and recommendations to the First APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security, which contributed to the Niigata Declaration on APEC Food Security. It also provides direct advice and support to Senior Officials Meetings, Ministers and APEC bodies aimed at improving the food security of the region.

Through workshops and projects, ATCWG played an important role in enhancing agricultural and food production. ATCWG also seeks to strengthen agriculture’s contribution to the region’s economic growth, sustainable agriculture, food security, sustainable development, and enhanced social well‐being of the rural populations.

The ATCWG Strategic Plan for 2015-2019 focuses on the following areas:

  • Improving agricultural production and distribution through increased use of the new tools of science and institutional innovations
  • Improving human and institutional resource capacities in agriculture through education and training
  • Improving environmental and natural resource management, infrastructure development related to food security and safety
  • Improving agricultural information systems including their analysis and utilization
  • Improving preparedness for natural disasters and cross border diseases

ATCWG projects that were implemented in 2010-2015 include:

  • Capacity building for emerging infectious diseases (Australia, 2010)
    • Workshop on Ease of Doing Business in the Agricultural Sector (USA, 2010)
    • Enhancing Food Security through a Regional Approach and Wide Stakeholder Participation to Plant Biosecurity (Malaysia, 2010)
    • Workshop on Building An Efficient Agricultural Technical Transfer Platform to Enhance APEC Food Security and Food Safety (China, 2010)
    • Risk Communication on Cross-Border Spread of Animal Influenza in Trade Areas of Borders and Communication for Information (China, 2010)
    • APEC-ATCWG Biofuels Network Annual Symposium and Biotrade / Technical Training Workshop (Thailand, 2010)
    • Development of a platform for information sharing on food security in APEC region (Japan, 2011)
    • APEC Workshop on Cultivation Technology of Protected Horticultural Crops (China, 2011)
    • International Symposium for Green Tourism (Japan, 2011)
    • Refinement on the Initiative of APEC Food Emergency Response Mechanism (Chinese Taipei, 2011)
    • Promotion of Indigenous Vegetables for Coping Climate Change and Food Security in APEC (Chinese Taipei, 2011)
    • 2011 APEC Food Security Forum - APEC Food Emergency Response Mechanism (Chinese Taipei, 2011)
    • Workshop to Assess and Improve Agricultural Data Collection and Dissemination by APEC Member Economies (USA, 2011)
    • Climate Change Symposium (Philippines, 2011)
    • Innovative Approaches in the Implementation of APEC Food Security Action Plan in Developing Economies (Malaysia, 2011)
    • International Symposium on Food Security and Asia and the Pacific - Key Policy Issues and Options (Canada, 2011)
    • Workshop on the Application of Remote Sensing and GIS Technology on Crops Productivity among APEC Economies (China, 2011)
    • Scientific Workshop on Sustainable Land Management to Enhance Food Production of APEC Members (Thailand, 2011)
    • Seminar-Workshop on the Assessment of Good Animal Husbandry Practices in APEC Member Economies (Philippines, 2011)
    • Enhanced Capacity Building for Food Safety Risk Assessment in Asia Pacific (China, 2012)
    • Workshop on Adaptation with Mitigation Initiative in Agriculture (Philippines, 2012)
    • Training Course on Biogas Technology (China, 2012)
    • Training Course on the Application of Remote Sensing and GIS Technologies in Crop Production (China, 2012)
    • Seminar for Sharing and Discussing the Interim Outcome of the PRAI (Principle for Responsible Agricultural Investment) Pilot Project (Japan, 2012)
    • Scientific Workshop on Measurement and Mitigation of Greenhouse Gases in Livestock Systems for Green Production and Environment of APEC Members (Thailand, 2013)
    • Strengthening Public-Private Partnership to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain (Chinese Taipei, 2013, MYP)
    • Conference on Enhancing Global Value Chains in Agriculture and Food Sector in Asia-Pacific (Japan, 2014)
    • High Level Public-Private Forum on Cold Chain to Strengthen Agriculture and Food's Global Value Chain (Japan, 2014)
    • Food Security Analysis Training and Symposium (China, 2015)
    • Symposium/Workshop on Planning a Collaborative Research, Development and Extension Program on Climate Change among APEC Member Economies (Philippines, 2015)

Contacts

Dr FENG Dongxin (Mr)
Director General of Department of International Cooperation
Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (CAAS)
12 Zhongguancun South Street
Beijing 100081, China
Email: fengdongxin@caas.cn, atcwg@caas.cn
Pruthipong Poonthrigobol (Mr)
Program Director
APEC Secretariat Email: pp15@apec.org

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