Nov 16, Bangkok – The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) held a “Regional Conference on Food Security” last Nov 15-16, in Bangkok, Thailand.
AFA was represented by its Marketing Officer, Vicky Serrato. During the break-out groups, AFA participated in the “policy reforms and private sector investments in food supply chains”.
During this consultation, the progress of the operationalization and implementation of the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework, Strategic Plan of Action – Food Security (SPA-FS) and the Convergence Matrix was reviewed.
The consultation took note of the on-going challenges in achieving food security and various food security initiatives developed and implemented at the global level and in the ASEAN region. During this consultation the following were recognized among others:
1) need to look into diversifying staple food sources aside from rice and protein sources, which could be done through linking small farmers to community based production for food safety net programs;
2) need for monitoring action plans for transboundary pest and disease movement, pesticide policy and bio technology and food security policy dialogues;
3) establishing regional regular public-private sector dialogues showcasing farmers’ organization and empowerment;
4) need to establish a regional institutional mechanism with involvement from key stakeholders to coordinate and monitor Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security in the ASEAN region; and,
5) need to strengthen and coordinate the various on-going food security initiatives of key stakeholders, including civil society organizations.
Several issues were raised during the small group workshops and plenary sessions, among them :
1) soaring food prices that contribute to food insecurity;
2) addressing issues related to securing land versus private sector investment that lead to landgrabbing issues which are detrimental to small scale farmers; and,
3) need to balance utilization of land for food production, bio-energy or bio-fuel production and animal feed production.