Monday, January 9, 2012

NAFC participates in ASEAN meetings held in Indonesia

The delegates who represented the country during the ASEAN meetings pose for a group photo, from left to right: Ms. Ellie Causon of NFA, Mr. Lupino Lazaro and Ms. Leah Samson of DA-IRD; USec. Joel Rudinas of DA; Dir. Neria Andin of FMB-DENR; Ms. Kaixie Sawadjaan of DFA; Ms. Diana delos Santos and Ms. Susan Puentebella of NAFC; and, ASec. Romeo Recide of DA.
Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member countries jointly affirmed their commitment in the field of agriculture, food, forestry, and fisheries at a higher and more advanced level in different meetings held in Jakarta, Indonesia from October 3 to 8, 2011. 

Representatives from the Philippines in this international gathering were the Department of Agriculture (DA), National Agricultural and Fishery Council (NAFC), Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), National Food Authority (NFA) and Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) officials.

DA Assistant Secretary Salvador Salacup, Dir. Leandro Gazmin of DA-Agribusiness and Marketing Assistance Service, DA’s World Trade Organization Desk Officer Ms. Maribel Marges, Ms. Susana Puentebella of NAFC, together with NFA Administrator Angelito Banayo, his assistant Atty. Gilbert Lauengco and NFA Deputy Administrator Ludovico Jarina, joined members of groups such as farmers’ associations, private agrifood companies, small business exporters, consultants, producers, academe, entrepreneurs, and representatives of the Ministries/Departments of Agriculture from the ASEAN Member States for the ASEAN Food Security Conference: Facilitating Food Trade & Investment, Advancing Food Security from October 3 to 5, 2011 at the Sultan Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia.

The conference, sponsored by the ASEAN-US Technical Assistance and Training Facility and the US Agency for International Development and US State Department, aimed at developing ways to make ASEAN food trade more efficient through better regulations and transparency, and possible improvements to food safety and standards.

The conference focused on the topics of food prices and strategies for price stabilization, food trade regulations and standards, trade facilitation, food safety and conformity assessment, agri-food trade intellectual property, and promoting food trade through quality ASEAN Good Agricultural Practice standards.

Speakers at the conference included leaders from ASEAN member states' food security planning organizations, leading international food security experts, representatives of agribusiness and food companies based in the ASEAN region, civil society organizations, the United Nations, and international and governmental organizations.

Among them was Dr. Ramon Clarete from the University of the Philippines who gave a presentation on Agrifood Sector Diagnostics, Measuring Food Security Progress.

The recommendations from the workshops and sessions in the conference were presented during the Private Sector Dialogue with the AMAF on October 6 to help shape up the ASEAN agenda towards food security in the region.

Meanwhile, DA Undersecretary Joel Rudinas,  DA Assistant Secretary Romeo Recide, Mr. Lupino Lazaro and Ms. Leah Samson of DA-International Relations Division, Ms. Diana delos Santos of NAFC, alongside DENR Forest Management Bureau Director Neria Andin, Ms. Ellie Causon of NFA and  Ms. Kaixie Sawadjaan of DFA, attended the Preparatory Senior Officials Meeting of the Thirty Third Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (PRESOM-33rd AMAF) on October 3-4; Senior Officials Meeting of the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry Plus Three (SOM-11th AMAF Plus 3) on October 5; the Thirty Third Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (33rd AMAF) last October 6; the 11th Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry Plus Three on October 7; and, the 1st ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture on October 8.

DA USec. Rudinas signs the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement in behalf of the Philippine government.
The PRESOM-33rd AMAF tackled several issues including the need to expedite harmonization standards, SPS measure and accreditation mechanisms to facilitate trade intra and extra-ASEAN of agro-products; mitigation and adaptation to climate change by mobilizing resources to implement activities developed under the ASEAN initiatives such as the Agriculture and Forestry towards Food Security, ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve Agreement (APTERR) and ASEAN Food Security Information System (AFSIS); and, the need for joint effort to mobilize cooperation and resources from the development and dialogue partners to enhance implementation of projects and activities.

At the SOM-11th AMAF Plus 3 forum, the ministers and delegation from the ASEAN member states and three partner countries namely Japan, China and Korea (ASEAN Plus 3) agreed to the Post-2012 AFSIS proposal which aims to establish “AFSIS Network Centers” as a self-sustaining mechanism and welcomed Japan’s new project proposal titled “Project for Strengthening Capacity Building in Agriculture in ASEAN Countries”.

Meanwhile, among the highlights of the 33rd AMAF and the 11th AMAF Plus 3 forums, both held under the Chairmanship of Indonesia’s Minister of Agriculture H.E. Dr. Suswono, was the signing of the APTERR where ASEAN countries together with China, Japan, and South Korea agreed to set aside rice reserve of 787,000 tons to emancipate food emergency any time.

During the first ASEAN-India Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture, co-chaired by H.E Dr. Suswono and India’s Minister of Agriculture H.E Mr. Sharad Pawar, the Ministers reaffirmed their strong support in advancing cooperation under the Plan of Action to Implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity (2010-2015) as well as their welcome and support to the entry into force of the ASEAN India Trade in Goods Agreement and its early implementation, and looked forward to the completion of the negotiations on Trade-in-Services and Investments Agreement under the ASEAN India Free Trade Area Framework.

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