43rd ASEAN Food Security Meeting: Indonesia urges ASEAN anticipate global food crisis

The 43rd ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) meeting hosted by Indonesia on June 7-8, 2023, has discussed food security as one of the concerns of Southeast Asian countries since the world is facing the threat of a global food crisis due to climate change, El Nino phenomenon, and geopolitical conflicts.

National Food Agency (Bapanas) Head Arief Prasetyo Adi during the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Board (AFSRB) meeting in Bogor, West Java, on Wednesday (June 7, 2023). (ANTARA/HO-Bapanas/FR)

The 43rd AFSRB meeting, held in Bogor District, West Java Province, was attended by representatives of all ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, the AFSRB Secretariat, the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Secretariat, and the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) Secretariat.

“We have to take concrete action to address the potential global food crisis, including various other risks threatening the food system,” the Head of Indonesia’s National Food Agency (NFA) Arief Prasetyo Adi said. Therefore, it is important to ensure the stability, availability, accessibility, and wise utilization of the food stocks in the region.

One of the attempts to address food and nutrition security dynamics is by strengthening the commitment of ASEAN member countries through the establishment of an ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration regarding food security. It is expected to be endorsed by the leaders of ASEAN member countries at the 43rd ASEAN Summit scheduled to be held in Jakarta in September 2023.

The ASEAN Leaders’ Declaration on Strengthening Food Security and Nutrition in Time of Crises is one of the Priority Economic Deliverables (PEDs) of Indonesia’s chairmanship in ASEAN 2023 as well as the topics in the 43rd AFSRB meeting.

The document will encourage the establishment of a cooperation mechanism among various domestic institutions of ASEAN member countries in the agriculture, trade, finance, and transportation sectors to strengthen food security in the region. The cooperation mechanism also aims to bolster regional supply chains and sustainable farming.

Apart from the declaration, the meeting also brought attention to the recent food issues in each member country, so that problems can be solved through regional cooperation. Representatives of each Southeast Asian country would report on food commodity availability, and the forum would determine which and how much food resource should be reserved.

As quoted from the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s website, the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict had disrupted the global supply chain, resulting in an increase in food prices by up to 30 percent. The condition also affects ASEAN member countries. The average inflation rate in the countries reached 15 percent in 2023 so far.

The NFA, as a governmental institution responsible for maintaining food security in Indonesia, developed a national food reserve and distribution system to anticipate the global food crisis potential. The agency develops collaboration with related ministries and institutions, State-owned Enterprises, universities, non-governmental organizations, agricultural and farmer associations, and the private sector as well as international stakeholders.

Kuntum Khaira R, Fadhli Ruhman, Editor: Azis Kurmala (c) ANTARA 2023

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