ASEAN could also develop guidelines and standards for sustainable agriculture practices, which could be adopted by farmers in all member countries. This would ensure consistency in the implementation of sustainable practices and could also facilitate the sharing of information and experiences.
Involving youth and securing the future
With agriculture being more labor intensive than other industries, growth in the sector should lead to higher employment, especially considering the growing demand and land availability across ASEAN. There is, however, evidence that the farmer population in the region is aging. The younger generation in general has shunned the agricultural sector as a career choice. Some of the main reasons for the lack of youth involvement are the low image of farmers, low profit on agricultural products, lack of support from the government, and lack of an agriculture curriculum in the education system.
Encouraging youth involvement, especially in rural areas, by developing a more attractive agriculture system is, therefore, a key to intensifying the sector in Southeast Asia. Collaborative research with and for youth on sustainable agriculture is urgently needed. It is crucial that the solutions address the specific needs of ASEAN farmers. Involving tertiary education and vocational training organizations can help to reach out to more youngsters and promote an “Agri-cool” culture.
Pooling resources through frequent knowledge sharing
Across ASEAN, each member country can benefit from better targeted and more frequent agriculture knowledge sharing. There is a need for more research and development in sustainable practices. This includes the development of new technologies and methods that are more efficient and environmentally responsible, as well as researching and educating people on the impact of climate change on agriculture.