In a webinar Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS): Green Finance as a Critical Trigger on April 8, 2022, Mekong Institute (MI) and the Asia-Pacific Rural and Agricultural Credit Association (APRACA) engaged financial institutions, development partners, academe, and the private sector in a discussion on the current state of green and climate finance to agriculture and the overarching policy environment to support the initiatives in the region.
“The Food System has been widely recognized in providing an integrated and holistic approach to SDGs, particularly the livelihoods and well-being of the small-scale farmers and their rural communities. Financial services and green investment are the critical means in realising sustainable food systems,” stated by Mr. Suriyan Vichitlekarn during his inaugural address. He highlighted that the discussions in the webinar are important in promoting the role and contribution of finance in the agriculture sector and food systems.
The first technical session focused on the challenges, key drivers of change and examples of innovative solutions in promoting green finance in the GMS. Members of the panel include representatives from Vietnam Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, Bank for Agriculture and Agricultural Cooperatives, and Nguyen Khoi Farm.
In closing the first session, moderator Mr. Yinhung Sun, Country Programme Officer at the International Fund for Agricultural Development in the People's Republic of China, said that “to make green finance to agrifood system happen, it requires adaptation of systematic approach to building a comprehensive strategy and more cooperation framework.” He also encouraged the practice of green agriculture and its standardisation and certification systems to instil trust and confidence in the society and investing institutions.
For the second technical session panellists from the Global Green Growth Institute, Asian Institute of Technology, and Vietnam Bank for Social Policies touched on some of the key areas of technical and policy interventions required to underpin the importance of green and climate finance in building resilience to the agrifood sector. Dr. Manab Chakraborty, Adviser to the Government of Bangladesh for the World Bank project on Livestock and Dairy Development and the moderator for the session, emphasized in his session summary the need to strengthen domestic finance to support local green agriculture, as well as promote the importance of green agriculture to ensure more financial services for farmers.
To close the webinar, Mr. CSR Murthy, Chief General Manager & Representative of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, wished for the countries to recognize the need to build on adaptation measures which recognize the cooperation of government and the private sector as this is critical for a stronger green financing that benefits more farming communities, especially those that face climate risks.
This webinar is the first event organised by MI and APRACA this year under the project ‘Supporting Learning and Capabilities for Scaling Up Agricultural Finance Activities in the GMS’ which started in 2021.