BIMP-EAGA has a thriving agribusiness sector, thanks to abundant natural resources. Supporting the development of agribusinesses in the subregion will help ensure food security, provide livelihood to farmers and fisherfolk, and sustain exports.
There is a growing market for fresh and processed food products within and outside BIMP-EAGA. A growing population and rising incomes have spurred demand in domestic markets. Globalization has also opened new markets for agriculture and food products. The halal food industry alone is estimated to have a global market value of more than $2 trillion. Intra-ASEAN trade in food and agricultural products is also seen to dramatically increase.
BIMP-EAGA aims to be the food basket for ASEAN and the rest of Asia. It wants to boost the productivity and sustainability of the agriculture sector.
However, agriculture faces several challenges, including resource depletion, changing land use patterns, climate change, poor transport connectivity, as well as unsustainable farming and fishing practices. BIMP-EAGA countries also need to address differences in government policies, regulations, and priorities, as well as poor coordination and weak private sector participation.
BIMP-EAGA has identified three strategic priorities for the agribusiness sector:
- Ensure long-term food security by improving implementation of national food security policies and initiatives and ensuring sustainable food production.
- Develop high-quality agro-based and fishery products for export. Five priority commodities—rice, shrimp, coconut, cattle, and seaweed—will be assessed for their potential to build economies of scale in terms of production, marketing, and distribution. Corn, rubber, palm oil, banana, poultry (chicken and duck), high-value fisheries, tuna, and sardines will also be assessed.
- Provide sustainable livelihoods for fisherfolk and farmers. It will also train farmers and fisherfolk to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change.