ASEAN ministers expressed concern over the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic to food, agriculture and forestry sectors and potential disruption to the food supply chain in the region during the 44th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (44th AMAF Meeting) on Wednesday.
The meeting, which took place via video conference, emphasised on the importance of the food, agriculture, and forestry sector to ensure that essential, safe and nutritious produce can continue to reach the ASEAN markets, including the continuous functioning of business activities and services to the food and agricultural systems.
During the meeting, Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf bin Haji Metussin emphasised the importance of ASEAN’s focus towards economic recovery and digital economy integration, especially on issues relating to food crises.
Increases in food and agricultural inputs prices have led to the increase in the cost of logistics and production, said the minister.
According to Brunei Darussalam’s 44th AMAF Secretariat, the meeting noted with satisfaction the progress in the implementation of the key deliverables for the food, agriculture, and forestry sector in 2022, and adopted 12 indicative deliverables across the livestock, crops, fisheries, and forestry in 2023.
This included ‘The Roadmap for the Implementation of the ASEAN Guidelines on Sustainable Agriculture’, one of the priority economic deliverables (PED) for Indonesia’s 2023 ASEAN Chairmanship.
The guidelines hoped to enhance the development of an ASEAN sustainable food market, in the face of an increasing number of trade barriers, tariffs and other restrictions imposed on ASEAN agricultural and food products, based on the lessons learnt from the pandemic.
The meeting also noted that various projects have been developed by ASEAN to support member states in ensuring food security to address the regional food crisis. This included the harmonisation of standards and development of guidelines to support trade facilitation of agricultural products in ASEAN.
The meeting was chaired by Laos Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Dr Phet Phomphiphak,
ASEAN PLUS THREE
On Wednesday, the Minister of Primary Resources and Tourism also attended the 22nd Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry Plus Three (AMAF+3 Meeting) via video conference.
The 22nd AMAF+3 meeting commended the progress made in the implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Cooperation Strategy (APTCS) 2016-2025 to contribute to the ASEAN Community Vision 2025.
The meeting also appreciated the progress in the implementation of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) Agreement.
In addition, the meeting noted the progress of the ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS) in strengthening the region’s capacity on food security information systems and human resource development.
Brunei Darussalam requested for further opportunities from the plus three partners to help improve the technical expertise in agriculture, fisheries and forestry sectors through trainings, exchange visits and work placements.
On Wednesday, Dato Seri Setia Dr Haji Abdul Manaf attended the 7th ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry.
The meeting noted the significant progress in the implementation of the ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership, through the implementation of various programmes and activities, based on the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2021-2025).
The meeting also welcomed the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India relations.