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ASEAN +3 ministers sign MoU on agriculture, forestry

(Xinhua)

12:44, October 08, 2011

JAKARTA, Oct. 8 (Xinhua) -- Agriculture and forestry ministers from the ASEAN countries and China, South Korea and Japan signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) reaffirming their commitment to advancing cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry sectors across the region, local media reported on Saturday.

By signing the MoU, ministers welcomed the development of the ASEAN +3 Cooperation Strategy (APTCS), which consists of six strategic areas -- food security, biomass energy development, sustainable forest management, climate change mitigation and adaptation, animal health and disease control and cross-cutting issues.

One of the agreements signed during the 33rd meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) is the ASEAN +3 Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) agreement, the Jakarta Post reported.

By signing the APTERR, the 13 countries agreed to provide 787, 000 tons of rice stock to anticipate the destabilizing effect on supply and production that can be caused by natural disasters, 87, 000 tons of which will be provided by the ASEAN countries.

Thailand will provide 15,000 tons, Vietnam and Myanmar 14,000 tons, Indonesia and the Philippines 12,000 tons, Malaysia 6,000 tons and Singapore 5,000 tons, with Brunei, Laos and Cambodia providing 3,000 tons each. China, Japan and Korea will prepare 300, 000 tons, 250,000 tons and 150,000 tons respectively.

"Indonesia has proposed to double its contribution of rice to the agreed rice stock. So we are ready anytime needed," Indonesian Minister of Agriculture Suswono said at the meeting on Friday, adding that each country would keep its contribution at home and also that Thailand had been appointed to host AMAF's secretariat.

Suswono stated that the APTERR agreement was also important to ensure that the price stability of supply and production were both maintained.

Under the agreement, 13 countries also committed to allocating 4 million U.S. dollars for APTERR's endowment fund and to disburse 300,000 U.S. dollars for its operational costs.

In addition to APTERR, the ASEAN ministers also signed an agreement with the World Organization for Animal Health, linking ASEAN's Regional Animal Health Information System with the World Animal Health System.

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