Agriculture is the backbone of most APEC member economies, and the issues of food security and food safety, and sustainable agricultural development are of critical importance to the region. In this light, the Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group (ATCWG) was established in 1996, first as an expert group and then renamed as a working group in 2000, to serve as a forum for APEC member economies to enhance the capacity of agriculture and its related industries to contribute to the economic growth, food security and social well-being in the region. Challenges facing agriculture include the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, the deterioration and shortage of natural resources, increasing demand for food brought by a growing population, labor shortage in farming and major issues regarding animals, plant pests and diseases. APEC member economies need to strengthen their cooperation in the innovation and harnessing of agricultural technologies, and the facilitation of agricultural trade and investment. These will help in attaining a sustainable agri-food system in the region and with economies’ COVID-19 recovery efforts.
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. This working group prioritizes projects and activities that strengthen members' capacities to increase productivity and trade in agricultural products.
The work of the ATCWG 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 including food loss and waste reduction, and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on agri-food systems
- Promoting the development of next-generation sustainable biofuels
- Enhancing agriculture's ability to adjust and mitigate the impact of climate change
- Fostering digital transformation in agriculture by harnessing ICT technologies
- Empowering women and youth in the agriculture sector
- Strengthening technological cooperation in the strategic planning of ATCWG projects.
The development of capacity building programs in these areas is now a core ATCWG activity.
The ATCWG is composed of government officials and experts from academia and works closely with the business community.
The latest APEC Agricultural Technical Cooperation Working Group meeting (ATCWG 24) was held virtually on 25 September 2020 in Taipei. In this meeting, the ATCWG endorsed its Strategic Plan for 2021–2025 with a few revisions afterward and deliberated on the importance of agricultural science, technology and innovation, and of the role of the ATCWG in promoting regional and global food security.
Delegates gave updates on their economies’ agricultural innovations and policies. They also discussed the projects they are going to implement. All the policies and projects are aligned with the priority areas of the ATCWG Strategic Plan for 2021–2025.
The next annual ATCWG meeting will be held virtually as well, in August 2021.
Family Album of the ATCWG 24
ATCWG Strategic Plan (2021–2025): The strategic plan will focus on the following priority areas:
- Strengthening regional food security and food safety
- Promoting conservation and utilization of animal and plant genetic resources
- Enhancing the research and development (R&D) and extension of smart agriculture (Agriculture 4.0)
- Building agricultural value chain and marketing channels
- Building climate smart and resilient agricultural systems
- Fostering sustainable agriculture systems
- Strengthening cooperation on prevention and control of animal and plant pests and diseases
Projects endorsed for 2020-2021
- APEC Workshop on the R&D and Promotion of Smart Agriculture (ATC 01 2020, Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
- APEC-GRA Joint Workshop on Enhancing Livestock GHG Inventory Methodology (ATC 01 2020S, New Zealand, Self-funded)
- APEC-GRA Virtual Farm Study Tour (ATC 02 2020S, New Zealand, Self-funded)
- APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Circular Agriculture (Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
- Reducing Food Loss and Waste along the Food Value Chain in APEC During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic (Chinese Taipei, APEC-funded)
Activities for 2020-2021
- Hold the 24th ATCWG Annual Meeting (September)
- Hold the APEC Workshop on the R&D and Promotion of Smart Agriculture (23-24 November 2020, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the APEC-GRA Virtual Farm Study Tour (March 2021, New Zealand)
- Hold the APEC-GRA Joint Workshop on Enhancing Livestock GHG Inventory Methodology (September 2021, New Zealand)
- Hold the APEC Workshop on Practices and Promotion of Circular Agriculture (TBD, Chinese Taipei)
- Hold the Reducing Food Loss and Waste along the Food Value Chain in APEC During and Post COVID-19 Pandemic (TBD, Chinese Taipei)
Activities for 2019-2020:
The ATCWG 2019 work plan focused on
- Women's empowerment and agricultural development
- Science and technology innovation and cooperation for sustainable and inclusive agricultural development
- Strengthening cooperation among APEC Economies on climate-smart agricultural technologies and practices
- The concluding phase of the Multi-year Project on Strengthening Public-Private Partnerships to Reduce Food Losses in the Supply Chain (MYP SCE 02 2013A).
- Workshop and Training on Capacity Building on Management Technologies for climate smart rice cultivation in the South-East Asian and Latin American Rice Sector (Japan)
- World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) Veterinary Statutory Body Twinning: Improving Trade and Market Access in Animals and Animal Products by Strengthening Veterinary Statutory Standards (Australia)
- Workshop on the Integrated Rural – Urban Development Strategy, Connecting Approaches and Policy Choices in the APEC economies (China)
- Workshop on Greater Cooperation on Scientific and Technological Innovation for Higher Added Value in Food Production Chain (China)
Projects implemented during 2018–2019:
- Urbanization and Agricultural Modernization Development Conference in the Asia-Pacific Region (ATC 01 2017S, China, self-funded)
- Workshop on Food Security – Climate-Resource Nexus (ATC 02 2017S, China, self-funded)
- Workshop on Pathway Exploration on Agricultural Sustainable Development (ATC 03 2017S, China, self-funded)
- Workshop on Wildlife Rabies Management (ATC 04 2017S, Chinese Taipei, self-funded)
- APEC Symposium on Agricultural Science Data Sharing and Service (ATC 05 2017S, China, self-funded)
- Workshop on Greater Cooperation on Scientific and Technological Innovation for Higher Added Value in Food Production Chain (ATC 02 2018S, China, self-funded)
- Workshop on Rice Landscapes and Climate Change (ATC 01 2017A, Japan) Workshop on the Integrated Rural-Urban Development Strategy, Connecting Approaches and Policy Choices in the APEC economies (ATC 01 2018S, China, self-funded)