Friday, October 7, 2011


       Jakarta, Oct 7, 2011 (ANTARA) - Rice is an important factor in achieving food security in the Southeast Asian region as around two-thirds of world rice production originate in ASEAN Plus Three countries (China, Japan, and South Korea) and more than half of the world`s rice exports comes from this region.
          To guarantee long-term food security, the 10-member ASEAN and its three partner countries signed the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement on the sidelines of the 11th ASEAN Plus Three Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF Plus Three) in Jakarta on Friday (Oct. 7, 2011).
      "The Agreement is testimony to ASEAN`s efforts with China, Japan, and the Republic of Korea to ensure long-term food security and the livelihoods of the peoples in the region as envisioned by the ASEAN Heads of Government at the 14th ASEAN Summit in 2009," the Jakarta-based ASEAN Secretariat said on its website.
      Under the APTERR program, the 13 countries to secure 787,000 tons of rice stock in anticipation of sudden instabilities of rice production and supply brought about by natural disasters, Achmad Suryana, the AMAF organizing committee chair concurrently the director of Indonesia`s National Food Security Agency, said on the sidelines of the AMAF senior official meeting on Wednesday (Oct 5).
      For the APTERR program, China will contribute 300,000 tons of rice, Japan 250,000 tons, and South Korea 150,000 tons.
      Thailand will provide 15,000 tons of rice stock, while Vietnam and Myanmar will each contribute 14,000 tons. Indonesia and Philippines will each provide 12,000 tons.
     Malaysia and Singapore will provide 6,000 tons and 5,000 tons respectively, while Brunei, Laos and Cambodia will each contribute 3,000 tons of rice stock.

In 2012, Indonesia planned to increase its contribution for the APTERR program to 25,000 tons.

ASEAN+3 members countries affected by natural disasters such as floods and mount eruption could contact the APTERR Secretariat to get the rice, he explained.

"The APTERR will help countries in the region to meet the needs of their citizens during anticipated and unanticipated disasters as well as during acute and emergency situations providing a mechanism for quick and predictable emergency relief," said Deputy Secretary-General of ASEAN for ASEAN Economic Community S. Pushpanathan in a statement.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in the 18th ASEAN Summit in May 2011 had suggested that the rice reserve not only provided in natural disaster emergency but also economic upheaval.

Yudhoyono`s view was supported by Pushpanathan who said "in the long term, APTERR could expand to other staple food staples to support the region`s response to volatility in food prices and surge in food demand."

In addition to the rice reserve, the meeting also agreed on the contribution of the APTERR Secretariat`s operational funds amounting to US$4 million.

"The funds will be kept as endowment and the interest on the funds can be used to finance operational activities," Achmad said.

Indonesia has pledged US$107,500 to be channeled in five years` time, while Plus Three countries will each contribute US$1 million.

Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam will also contribute each US$107,500, while Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will each contribute US$83,000).

ASEAN Plus Three countries are both major consumers and producers of rice.

Rice is a main staple food and an integrated part of culture and way of life in East Asia. Rice trade in the region, however, has been very small - only 5-6 per cent of the world`s rice production in the world market, according to ASEAN Secretary General Dr Surin Pitsuwan.

"As a result, there is a need to strengthen regional cooperation to ensure food security in the East Asia, which the APTERR Agreement will promote," Dr Surin of Thailand said.

The need to enhance ASEAN+3 cooperation in the food sector was also emphasized by Vice President Boediono in his opening speech at the 11th Meeting of AMAF Plus Three in Jakarta on Friday (Oct 7).

"Cooperation in food is to become more urgent in the coming years and it was also in fact mandated by the 18th ASEAN Summit," Boediono said.

The attention of ASEAN and the world lately has been directed to a widening gap between food consumption and production globally, he said.

In the 18th ASEAN Summit last May, the heads of state explicitly instructed the concerned ministers to take concrete steps to address the gap problem, he added.

The Summit`s mandate reads: "We have discussed the challenges of food and energy security as well as the volatility of food and energy prices; especially with regard to short and long term responses. We agreed to enhance existing ASEAN priorities based on programs that increase productivity and production, coordinate in policies regarding pricing, stocks, export and import as well as alleviate the impact on the poor. We instructed ministers to follow up and prioritize the existing programs based on these principles and to also propose new ideas and concrete actions by the next Summit".

Boediono believed that the ASEAN Plus Three cooperation should concern not only food production but also consumption.

"Considering that the world population is estimated to reach 9.5 billion people by 2050, the global food production must be increased around 75 percent, and for the developing nations up to 100 percent," he said.

ASEAN senior officials and their counterparts from China, Japan, and South Korea have discussed concrete plans on food security in the southeast Asian region since the past few months.

Boediono was optimistic that the ASEAN Plus Three forum will make a breakthrough in responding to the common challenges in the food sector as China, Japan and South Korea have advanced technology and good food security system.

The senior official level meeting of AMAF was organized in Jakarta on October 3-5, and was followed by the 33rd Session of the AMAF ministerial meeting on October 6.

The 11th Meeting of AMAF Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) was organized on Friday (Oct 7) and officially kicked off by Vice President Boediono.

On October 8, the ASEAN ministers of agriculture and forestry is scheduled to hold meeting with their Indian counterpart.

One of the important parts of the AMAF meetings was a dialog with the private sector, because public-private partnerships play a vital role in efforts to achieve food security in each member country of ASEAN which groups Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, the Philippines, Singapore, and Vietnam.



(T.F001/A/F001/S012) 07-10-2011 23:55:51

No comments:

Post a Comment