Asean agriculture ministers endorse 10-year strategic plan for food security (Business Mirror (Philippines))

Agriculture and forestry ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) have endorsed a 10-year strategic plan which seeks to ensure food security in Southeast Asia.

In a joint news statement released after the 37th meeting of the Asean Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (Amaf), ministers said they are backing the Vision and Strategic Plan for Asean Cooperation in Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2016 to 2025 to chart out directions for regional cooperation in these areas, in support of the realization of the Asean Community Vision 2025.

Under this strategic plan, we envisioned a competitive, inclusive, resilient and sustainable Food, Agriculture and Forestry [FAF] sectors integrated with the global economy, based on a single market and production base contributing to food and nutrition security, and prosperity in the Asean community, the statement read.

Asean farm ministers said they have tasked their senior officials and subsidiary bodies under Amaf to draft and present a proposed streamlined structure and mechanism, with the objective to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the strategic plan, at the next Amaf meeting for their consideration and endorsement.

We reiterated our commitment to ensure sufficient supply of safe and nutritious food for the region through the implementation of the Asean Integrated Food Security Framework and Strategic Plan of Action on Asean Food Security 2015 to 2020, the statement read.

Several documents on Asean guidelines, measures and standards for safe and quality agricultural products were also approved by the Amaf. These include phytosanitary guidelines; maximum residue limits; prevention of illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing activities; and promotion of climate-smart agricultural practices, among others.

We continued our support to promote competitiveness and to upgrade the quality and safety of Asean agricultural and forestry products through the implementation of memorandum of understanding on Asean Cooperation and Joint Approaches in Agriculture and Forest Products Promotion Scheme 2015 to 2019, the ministers said.

Meanwhile, the Amaf Plus Three (China, Japan and South Korea) acknowledged in another joint statement the progress made through the implementation of the Asean Plus Three Cooperation Strategy on Food, Agriculture and Forestry 2011 to 2015.

To promote bioenergy toward sustainable agriculture and rural development, the Amaf Plus Three also adopted the Asean Plus Three Bioenergy and Food Security Framework 2015 to 2025.

All ministers agreed to convene the 38th Amaf Meeting and 16th Amaf Plus Three Meeting in Singapore next year.

The Amaf and Amaf Plus Three meetings were attended by representatives from Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam, China, Japan and South Korea, as well as the Secretary-General of Asean Le Luong Minh.