Thursday, July 31, 2014
Talking policy: What does ASEAN 2015 mean for a rice-rich region?
What will national and regional food security look like in an integrated ASEAN?
These concerns, among others, drove the discussion during the forum on Food Security in ASEAN 2015, a media event jointly organized by SciDev.net and IRRI.
According to Bruce Tolentino, IRRI deputy director general for communication and partnerships, “The nutrition status of all citizens—consumers and farmers—should be the principal yardstick of national and regional food security.” It is also the case, said Tolentino, that “food security is undeniably linked to income security. People need access to, and should be able to buy the food they need.”
Philippine Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Fortunato dela Peña said that a large majority of ASEAN countries listed agriculture and food security as a high priority in their research and development agendas. Dela Peña presented the Philippines’ priority outcomes as regards regional integration, with agricultural productivity at the top of the list.
"Some 90% of the world’s rice supply is produced in Asia—much of it in ASEAN countries," added Tolentino. He underscored that "two of the world’s largest producers and exporters of rice—Thailand and Vietnam—as well as two of the world’s largest consumers and importers of rice—Indonesia and the Philippines—are part of the ASEAN".
In an integrated ASEAN, where rice looms large in national agriculture sectors as well as family tables, food security requires the strengthening of regional agreements that will facilitate reliable rice reserves, especially during emergency situations (See Dr. Tolentino's "ASEAN cooperation: Crucial to global food security").
Present during the forum, held at Ascott Hotel in Makati, Philippines, on 30 July 2014, were members of the media, SciDevNet staff, and the IRRI Communication team.
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