Bandar Seri Begawan - With an insecure economic climate currently being faced by a number of countries around the globe, food security has become an- issue that many governments see the need to be addressed urgently.
The 34th Meeting of Asean Ministers on Agriculture and. Forestry (34th AMAF Meeting) that was held recently in Vientiane, Lao PDR, heard ministers from the 10-member Asean nations agreeing to "remain vigilant on the opportunities and challenges of food security in the region and the world" especially during "a time of high volatility of commodity prices and economic uncertainties."
As a step forward to ensure the people of the region are adequately supplied with enough food, the ministers, it was explained, have "agreed to continue to explore new initiatives that contribute to food security" and, as they continue to recognise the importance of constructive platforms for the private sector and civil society engagement in addressing food security in the region, these leaders have also urged for close collaboration and partnerships with their counterparts, dialogue partners, development and international organisations "to foster coordination and implementation of activities as well as monitoring the progress of the Asean Integrated Food Security (AFIS) Framework and the Strategic Plan of Action on Asean Food Security (SPA-FS)."
In representing Brunei Darussalam, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources (MIPR) Pehin Orang Kaya Seri Utama Dato Seri Setia Awg Hj Yahya bin Begawan Mudim Dato Paduka Hj Bakar explained that the Sultanate's observation in this particular field and those related to it can be summarised into four points.
First, in the area of harmonisation of standards and procedures of agri-food produce and also on food safety and quality, the minister stated that, "A number of Asean standards and procedures have been harmonised among Asean member- states and such harmonisation of standards and procedures will certainly improve the facilitation of trade on those commodities."
The health of livestock, the minister explained, is also among the points of Brunei's worry, highlighting that "the emergence and re-emergence of zoonotic diseases."
have "hindered the development of livestock industries in the region," which is concurrent "to the suggestion of the additional role and functions of the Asean Sectoral Working Group on Livestock (ASWGL) and senior officials of AMAF in the utilisation and management of the Asean Animal Health Trust Fund (AAHTF)" whose important role in safeguarding livestock health has led to the agreement to the streamlining of mechanism for the utilisation of the AAHTF.
Thirdly, the minister stressed, is the important need to manage and conserve the region's forests and its biodiversity for social, economic and environmental benefit for current and future generations, whilst also expressing his concern on the importance to further strengthen efforts in ensuring that forest resources and its biodiversity are well managed in a sustainable manner at a regional level within Asean as well as non-Asean countries.
Lastly, the minister expressed his appreciation to the dialogue and development partners for their efforts and contribution in executing a number of joint projects and activities such as the Asean-US cooperation on Maximising Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge Enterprise and Trade (MARKET), German International Cooperation (GIZ), Asean Development Bank (ADB) and so on.
Prior to concluding the regional gathering of policy makers, the ministers agreed to meet again for the 35th AMAF meeting next year to be held in Malaysia and also reaffirmed their commitment in ensuring that the Asean Community Blueprints' measures are implemented according to the strategic timeline through intensified and strengthened efforts at both the national and regional level.
The meeting was chaired by Minister of Agriculture and Forestry of Lao PDR, Mr Vilayvanth Phomkhe.
During the 12th AMAF + 3 meeting to include China, Japan and Korea, meanwhile, the Brunei minister had the opportunity to meet his counterpart from South Korea, Sang-Kil Lee; Vice Minister, Ministry of Food, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, to discuss possible bilateral cooperation and collaboration in the field of agriculture, fisheries, forestry as well as the 'halal' industry, particularly technology transfers, exchange of information and experiences, joint investment and capacity building.--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin