The Ministers took note the progress and endorsed the ASEAN Plus Three Comprehensive Strategy on Food Security and Bio-energy Development (APTCS-FSBD), the main goal of which was to provide umbrella for multi-sectoral cooperation among the ASEAN Plus Three Countries in ensuring long-term food security and bio-energy development.
The Ministers considered and endorsed the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement as a permanent scheme for meeting emergency requirements and achieving humanitarian purposes and affirmed their support for implementation of the scheme. The Ministers agreed to sign the said agreement at this 11th AMAF+3 meeting and requested member states to expedite the process getting the agreement ratified in accordance with the legal procedures and recognised the possibility of re-adjustment in the financial contribution of ASEAN Member States facing financial difficulties.
The Ministers also welcomed the aspiration by the Leaders at the 18th ASEAN Summit for the possibility of expanding coverage of the APTERR to other commodities than rice in times of emergency and in supporting the countries in vulnerable position as a result of food price volatility and surge in food demand. Along this line, the Ministers recognised the need to learn from experience and progress made in the implementation of the Agreement by focusing first on rice. The Ministers recognised the need for adopting a step-by-step approach in considering expanding APTERR as a role model for other food commodities. Building on the existing food security initiatives, the Ministers were of the view that relevant food security initiatives should be reviewed and enhanced to address concerns resulting from food price volatility and surge in food demand. The Ministers tasked the Senior Officials of ASEAN and the Plus Three Countries to work together in addressing the above concern towards ensuring long-term food security in the region.
The Ministers agreed and endorsed Proposal of Post-2012 ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) which would be operated after the end of current AFSIS Project in 2012. The objective was to establish AFSIS Network Centres (AFSIS NCs) as a self-sustaining mechanism. The proposed activities include ASEAN Food Security Analysis Report (AFSAR), Food Security Forecasting Model (FSFM) and Broadening Food Security Databases.
The Ministers expressed their satisfaction and appreciation on the various on-going projects’ activities conducted and will be conducted by the Plus Three Countries and by the ASEAN Secretariat in the field of food security, agricultural technology, environment conservation, biomass energy, climate change adaptation, statistics, data management, plant variety protection, plant quarantine, aquaculture and information sharing and so on. The Ministers endorsed two new project proposals from Japan which aim to strengthen capacity building for productivity enhancement and research in agriculture sector in ASEAN Countries.
The Ministers agreed to have the 12th AMAF Plus Three Meeting in Lao PDR in 2012.
The ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry also convened their first meeting with the Minister of Agriculture of India on the 8 October 2011, and was Co-Chaired by H.E Dr. Suswono, Minister of Agriculture of Indonesia and H.E Mr. Sharad Pawar, Minister of Agriculture of India.
The Ministers noted the 8th ASEAN-India Summit had adopted the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2010-2015). Among others, the Plan of Action is also envisaged to enhance cooperation in agriculture and forestry between ASEAN and India with a view to meet the challenges of food security; to exchange information and technology, to cooperate on research and development projects, to encourage agriculture and forestry-related industries, and to strengthen human resources development.
The 1st ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry welcomed and supported the entry into force of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement (AI-ATIGA) and its early implementation, and looked forward to the completion of the negotiations on Trade-in-Services and Investments Agreement under the ASEAN India Free Trade Area (AIFTA) Framework. The AIFTA, in which collaboration on agriculture and forestry sectors has shown great potential of support, serves as vehicle to help sustain the region’s growth that would benefit and improve welfare of peoples of ASEAN and India.
The Ministers agreed to the establishment of the ASEAN-India Working Group on Agriculture with the view to promote and intensify cooperation in the agriculture and forestry sector between ASEAN and India, and endorsed its Terms of Reference (TOR). The Ministers congratulated the First Meeting of the ASEAN-India Working Group on Agriculture (AIWGA), held on 29-31 January 2011 in New Delhi which has generated potential areas for ASEAN India Cooperation in Agriculture.
The Minister also welcomed activities to be implemented in 2011-2012, which include: publication of ASEAN India Newsletters, ASEAN India Fellowships Programme, Conference of Heads of Agricultural Universities, Exchange Visits of Farmers, and Workshop on Adaptation/Mitigation Technologies for Climate Change.
The Ministers adopted the Medium Term Plan of Action for ASEAN India Cooperation in Agriculture (2011-2015). The Ministers expressed their commitment to deepen their cooperation, particularly through the implementation Medium Term Plan of Action for ASEAN India Cooperation in Agriculture (2011-2015) in the areas of enhancement of productivity of agricultural products and meet the challenges of food security, as well as their accessibility to global markets, ii) promote networking between government authorities concerned, as well as between agriculture experts/ scientists agricultural related academic institutions of ASEAN Member Countries and India, iii) promote capacity building, technology transfer, and R&D as mutually agreed for global competence in agriculture, and iv) information sharing to enhance farming practices and management skills of ASEAN and India farmers. The Ministers requested the ASEAN India Working Group on Agriculture to report the progress of activities on the implementation of Medium Term in their Second Meeting.
While in Jakarta, Yang Berhormat Pehin also held bilateral meetings with his counterparts in the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia.
The meeting with His Excellency Dr Suswono, Minister of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia discussed the bilateral cooperation and collaboration in the area of integrated pest management and the peat soil management for rice cultivation, and also other activities as stipulated in the MOU on Agricultural Cooperation which has been signed by both ministers on 24 February 2011 in Brunei Darussalam. The ministers also agreed to the establishment of the technical Joint Committee to discuss the implementation of programmes and activities under the said MOU.
The Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Indonesia also arranged for a working visit to Barito Kuala in South Kalimantan on 11th October 2011 to have a closer look on the integrated pest management practices and the peat land paddy cultivation and management in South Kalimantan. Yang Berhormat Pehin expressed his appreciation for the warm hospitality and greetings from the local government of South Kalimantan and also for the warm welcomed by the local farming community of Barito Kuala. The exchange and sharing of knowledge and experiences in paddy cultivation and citrus farming in the peat soil of South Kalimantan, and the conduct of farmers field school in Barito Kuala community are very informative during the visit.
In the meantime, the meeting with His Excellency Mr Zulkifli Hassan, Minister of Forestry of the Republic of Indonesia also discussed the bilateral issues pertaining to forestry cooperation. A working visit was also organised to some of the timber factories around Indonesia such as the Rimbawood Asrilestari company in the Province of Banten which produces the furniture with export quality.