October 09, 2011

Southeast Asia to start emergency rice reserve

http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20111009a4.html

The ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve accord (APTERR), was signed Friday during a one-day meeting between agriculture and forestry ministers in Jakarta.

It is the region's first permanent mechanism for establishing an emergency rice reserve.

Initially, the 13 countries will stockpile 787,000 tons of rice for use in the event of sudden instabilities in supply and production caused by natural disasters.

According to a statement, the ministers also welcomed "the possibility of expanding coverage of the APTERR other than rice in times of emergency and in supporting countries in a vulnerable position as a result of food price volatility and a surge in food demand."

But before branching out, the ministers stressed the need "to learn from experience and progress made in the implementation of the agreement by focusing first on rice."

According to the agreement, China will prepare 300,000 tons of rice, Japan 250,000 tons and South Korea 150,000 tons. The 10 ASEAN countries will come up with 87,000 tons.

Among ASEAN members, Thailand will be the biggest contributor at 15,000 tons, while Vietnam and Myanmar will each contribute 14,000 tons, and Indonesia and the Philippines 12,000 tons each.

"When deemed necessary, Indonesia is ready to contribute twice its earmarked rice quantity," Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Suswono, who uses a single name, told reporters.

Malaysia will provide 6,000 tons, Singapore 5,000 tons, and Brunei, Laos and Cambodia 3,000 tons each.

The rice will be kept in their respective countries for use as emergency reserves for Southeast Asia.

The ministers also committed to establish a $4 million endowment to cover the costs of running and maintaining the emergency rice reserve.

China, Japan and South Korea will each pay $1 million into the fund.

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

"The contribution is different for several countries due to their financial capacity," said Achmad Suryana, chairman of the committee that organized the meeting.

The ministers agreed that rice used for the emergency reserve can come from outside East Asia.

"If not, a country such as Singapore that doesn't produce rice and relies on imports would find it difficult to provide rice," Suryana said.

In addition to the endowment, China, Japan and South Korea will each pay $75,000 annually to cover the operational costs of the office running the rice program over the first five years, while ASEAN members will each contribute $8,000 a year.

Bangkok is considered the leading candidate to host the program's secretariat.

ASEAN launched a food security reserve in 1979, but officials said the plan never really got off the ground and member countries have generally turned to each other for help on a bilateral basis during crises.

Southeast Asia as a whole has a surplus in food production, with only Singapore and Brunei relying on imports, but a series of natural catastrophes and food price volatility have made ASEAN members more anxious to unite on the issue of food security.

ASEAN+3 agree on emergency rice reserve finances

The Jakarta Post, Jakarta | Thu, 10/06/2011 7:17 AM
A | A | A |

The 10 ASEAN members plus the three nations of Japan, China and South Korea have committed to finance the soon-to-be signed ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) agreement.

The pact will be signed during the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) Meeting on Friday in Jakarta.

The AMAF Meeting organizing committee chairman, Achmad Suryana, said on Wednesday after a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) that each country would make different a contribution to finance APTERR.

ASEAN members and China, Japan and South Korea will disburse US$1 million respectively for an endowment fund. Seven ASEAN members — Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Singapore and Vietnam — will contribute $107,500 respectively while Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar will contribute $83,000 each.

“The contribution is different for several countries due to their financial capacity,” he said.

The members of ASEAN Plus Three have also agreed to prepare $300,000 to finance APTERR’s office, he added. ASEAN members, China, Japan and Korea will disburse $75,000 respectively.

“Indonesia will contribute $8,000 for the operational fund,” he said.

A country had yet to be appointed to host the APTERR secretariat, he added.

Under the APTERR agreement, 13 countries should provide a rice stock of 787,000 tons to anticipate sudden instabilities in supply and production caused by natural disasters.

China, Japan and Korea will
prepare 300,000 tons, 250,000 tons and 150,000 tons of rice respectively, while ASEAN countries will prepare 87,000 tons.

“Thailand is the biggest contributor with 15,000 tons. Vietnam and Myanmar will each contribute 14,000 tons, while Indonesia and the Philippines contribute 12,000 tons each,” he said.

Brunei, Laos and Cambodia will provide 3,000 tons respectively, while Malaysia and Singapore provide 6,000 tons and 5,000 tons.

“The rice will be disbursed only if a natural disaster occurs.”

Previously, Agriculture Minister Suswono said that the pact was originally to be signed at the AMAF Meeting in 2010 but Singapore requested a delay.

“In this year’s meeting, I have been told that all countries have agreed,” he said.

This year’s AMAF Meeting, scheduled to be opened by Vice President Boediono, will focus on food security strategies among ASEAN members, as well as China, Japan, Korea and India.

The ministerial meeting among ASEAN members is scheduled to take place on Thursday. The ASEAN Plus Three ministerial meeting is scheduled to take place on Friday while the ASEAN ministers meeting with India’s agriculture minister will take place on Oct. 8,” Suryana said.

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