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The Second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum: Recommendations for Consideration 45 June 2013, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

The ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) and the ASEAN Secretariat jointly convened the Second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum on 45 June 2113 with the theme, Rice Self-Sufficiency and Trade. ADB technical assistance through the Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction provided support. About 70 officials and representatives from the AFSRB, state trading enterprises, academe, bilateral and multilateral organizations, civil society, and private sector attended the Forum. The rice outlook for 20122013 to 20212022 was presented. It showed that the ASEAN is and will still be a major player in world rice trade despite ongoing price volatility and climate shocks. The Forum participants agreed that rice self-sufficiency and rice trade are complementary instruments toward achieving food security. Specifically, food security can be more judiciously enhanced through: (1) Agriculture investments that bridge the yield gap, reduce postharvest wastes, and expand emergency reserves by employing more efficient and sustainable use of resources, thus enabling the availability of and access to more affordable rice; Food supply chain investments, policy and awareness-raising measures that provide safe and nutritious food choices, including staple food substitutes that are accessible and affordable to farm producers as well as the urban and rural poor.

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In light of the above, the Forum participants request the AFSRB to consider the following: (1) the formulation of the second phase of the Strategic Plan of Action for Food Security through a participatory process which should be completed and submitted to the SOM-AMAF not later than the end of December 2013; and that the ASEAN Secretariat to create a technical working group to draft the SPA-FS that will take into account the inputs from the mid-term evaluation of the first SPA-FS. The terms of reference of the technical working group (including its composition and the recommendations from the Second ASEAN Rice Trade Forum) is in Attachment 1.

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Observation and Statement from AFSRB Members:


The Meeting valued the Forum as a very useful venue to share knowledge, engage stakeholders and provide policy options to promote regional cooperation on rice trade and self-sufficiency. The Meeting recommends the following: In light of the importance of the food diversification to food security, the Meeting agreed to continue the ASEAN Rice Trade Forum and for the next forum to cover food trade. To formulate the second phase of SPA-FS through the creation of a technical working group led by ASEAN Secretariat and based on the outcome of the Forum to prioritise the components as in Appendix 1. To request the ASEAN Secretariat to continue seeking financial and technical support for the next Forum and the development and implementation of the second phase of SPA-FS from the Development Partners.

Appendix 1. I. 1. Component 1: Food Security and Emergency/ Shortage relief Emergency Rice Reserves. A stronger regional emergency rice reserve system requires the determination of an optimal size of the emergency reserves as well as the strengthening and expansion of the use of forward contracts for anticipated shortfalls. Component 4: Agricultural Innovation Rice self-sufficiency through efficient and sustainable use of resources. Technological innovations that employ more efficient and sustainable use of resources help increase food crop yields, particularly rice, increase crop intensities, and reduce postharvest losses in food crops. The aim is to produce diverse, safe, and food with less use of resources and are affordable to consumers at market and world prices. Component 3: Integrated Food Security Information System Market information system. It is important to find a cost-effective way of institutionalizing the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS). Component 2: Sustainable Food Trade Development Food trade through investments and enabling policies. A vibrant food trade is indispensable for food security. Trade makes excess food in one part of the region available to other parts which are in need of it for their food security, thus making food more affordable to consumers, particularly the poor, in food deficit countries. Private and public investments to develop efficient supply chains within the territories of member states and across their borders need to be encouraged. Efficient supply chains reduce trade costs and facilitate the diversification of food consumption and sources.

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Member states are encouraged to work together in building the confidence of member states in food trade. In this regard, ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Food may need to coordinate with the other relevant authorities in ASEAN to enable confidence-building measures such as:

a. Exempting regional food trade from any form of export restrictions to build confidence of importing member states. b. A more structured implementation of Article 24 in the ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement to minimize unnecessary disruptions of food trade, which is needed in raising the confidence of exporting countries to invest to expand their export capacities. c. Harmonizing food and safety standards as well as measures toward addressing transboundary issues such as plant and health diseases. d. Holding of policy and investment dialogues and knowledge sharing with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation and the Plus Three countries on addressing food price volatility and climate shocks. 7. Food Trade Forum. An important confidence-building measure is the continued activity of the ASEAN rice trade forum. The forum serves as a platform for importing and exporting countries, private stakeholders and civil society organizations to manage the risk of extreme price volatility. Extreme price fluctuations undermine the confidence of importing countries in trade, and give an opportunity for exporting countries to resort to export restrictions.