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Welcome Remarks to the Second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum


Sheraton Mustika Hotel, Yogyakarta, 4 June 2013

His Excellency, Dr. Tahlim Sudaryanto, Assistant Minister for International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture, Indonesia, Her Excellency, Mrs. Takako Ito, Minister Counselor, Mission of Japan to ASEAN, Distinguished delegates from ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board Members, Government parastatal organisations, NGO and CSO representatives, Private sector, Representatives from university and research centres, Donor partners: ADB, FAO, WFP, IRRI, World Bank, and the respective food security secretariats: APTERR, AFSIS, AFSRB, and the ASEAN Secretariat. Ladies and Gentlemen, Good Morning. It is my privilege and honour to deliver the Opening Remarks at the Second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum. On behalf of the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board, I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Government of Indonesia and the AFSRB Secretariat for their excellent assistance in hosting and organising this event. I would like to take this opportunity to thank ADB and the Government of Japan for their continued support to the food security initiatives in ASEAN. Last year, we gathered in Siem Reap, Cambodia to conduct the pilot testing of the ASEAN Rice Trade Forum. The Forum aimed to enhance rice trade in the region and to manage extreme rice price volatility through multisector dialogues. The Forum was seen as a very successful venue to share knowledge, engage stakeholders and provide policy options to mitigate the risk of rice price volatility. We have reported the outcomes and policy recommendations obtained from the Forum to our Ministers, and we got a firm support from our leaders to continue the Forum. The 34th Meeting of ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) tasked us to continue the Forum and to expand the issues from rice trade to other food commodities trade. Ladies and Gentlemen, Allow me to briefly introduce the AFSRB to you. The AFSRB was created in 1979 as a permanent body in ASEAN to address extreme rice price volatility. This body was created in response to the extraordinary rice price fluctuations due to oil price shocks and rice shortages in the 1970s. In 2009, unfortunately, a similar situation was also happening in our region. This situation necessitated the AFSRB to be more responsive to the emerging

challenges to food security in a new and more volatile world, toward sustainable food trade as guided by the ASEAN Integrated Food Security Framework and its Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security (AIFS and SPA-FS). The AFSRB is composed of a representative from the agriculture, commerce, and trade agencies of the 10 ASEAN Member States. It was created to supervise and coordinate the implementation of the ASEAN Food Security Reserve by coordinating periodic exchanges of information on national food and stock policies, undertaking periodic evaluations of food prices and prospects in the region and examining policy options to ensure adequate food supply in the region. Distinguished Participants, Ladies and Gentlemen, The theme of the 2nd ASEAN Rice Trade Forum is Rice Trade and Self-Sufficiency. For the next two days, we will discuss and share our knowledge, expertise and interest on this topic. Your inputs on rice self-sufficiency and trade policy options and actions, costbenefit considerations, challenges, opportunities, potential solutions, and future cooperation are indeed very valuable as our basis for evaluation and analysis on the regional food security outlook. The outputs of the Forum will be carefully taken into consideration in preparing the policy recommendations to the SOM-AMAF Meeting. In this regard, I would like to invite all of you to take active part in the Forum. Your voice will be heard and considered. Lastly, I wish you all a most successful Forum. I sincerely hope that this Forum will be a stepping stone to leverage food security issues to ensure long-term food security and to improve the livelihoods of farmers in the ASEAN region towards a robust and strong ASEAN Economic Community in 2015. Thank you.