GMS plan will help rural poor

By Li Fangchao (China Daily)
Updated: 2007-04-11 07:03

Poor farmers in the six member nations of the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) are expected to benefit from a new cooperation program endorsed by their agriculture heads yesterday in Beijing.

The program aims to foster cross-border trade and investment in agriculture, contribute to food security and poverty reduction, promote new agricultural technology sharing and strengthen supervision of transboundary animal diseases within the GMS.

The GMS countries - China (Yunnan Province and the Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region), Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam - embarked on an economic cooperation program in 1992, which aims to boost cooperation in nine areas including energy, the environment, transportation and agriculture.

"The Chinese government has always been committed to the GMS and its extensive programs in the agriculture sector," State Councilor Hua Jianmin said.

Urooj Malik, director of the Southeast Asia Department of the Asian Development Bank, which supports the GMS program, said: "Agriculture plays an important role in poverty alleviation in the GMS."

Of the 316 million people living in the subregion, about two-thirds live in rural areas and depend mainly on agriculture for their livelihoods.

"China would like to deepen the agriculture links within the subregion and boost development and prosperity," Hua said.

"Huge numbers of the rural poor have benefited from our collaboration in the spread of agro-technology, prevention and control of animal epidemics and the dissemination of information," he said.

(China Daily 04/11/2007 page4)

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