Threat Of Food Crisis In Front Of The Eyes, RI Encourages Synergy In ASEAN

The threat of a food crisis and increasing poverty is the impact of various challenges such as pandemics, climate change, natural disasters to war demanding the commitment of every ASEAN member country to join hands in building food security together.

Head of the National Food Agency (NFA) Arief Prasetyo Adi said Indonesia and other ASEAN countries need to take concrete action to address the threat of a global food crisis, including unprecedented risks and shocks to the food system.

"Because it is important to ensure the stability of food availability, accessibility and utilization of food in the region," he said in an official statement, Wednesday, June 7.

As is known, Indonesia holds ASEAN Chairship in 2023 with the theme ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth. Indonesia's position is very important in directing ASEAN to play an active role in creating and maintaining peace and prosperity in the region and the world, as well as maintaining ASEAN as the center of economic growth.

Arief said, this was in line with President Joko Widodo when he opened the 42nd ASEAN Summit in Labuan Bajo, Wednesday, May 10, which emphasized that ASEAN must further strengthen its economic integration, strengthen inclusion cooperation, and strengthen health architecture, food, energy, and financial stability.

Therefore, Arief said, one of the main focuses of the Chairship of ASEAN 2023 is ensuring food and nutrition security is maintained in the region.

"I am sure that one way ASEAN can respond to the dynamics of food and nutrition security is to strengthen the commitment of ASEAN member countries through the ASEAN Leaders' Declaration on Food Security," he said.

Arief said this declaration was an effort to build mechanisms and unite the role of all relevant sectoral agencies in ASEAN, including the agriculture, trade, finance, and transportation sectors to strengthen food and nutrition security.

The ASEAN Leaders's Declaration was discussed at the AFSRB meeting and will be agreed upon by ASEAN leaders at the ASEAN Summit in September 2023.

Furthermore, Arief said that the National Food Agency (NFA) as a government institution responsible for the food sector plays an important role in ensuring food and nutrition security.

In this regard, the National Food Agency developed a food reserve and distribution system, stabilized food supply and prices, eradicated food-prone areas, diversified food consumption, and formulated and controlled food safety standards.

"The National Food Agency does not work alone, we build synergies and collaborations, cooperate with related Ministries/Institutions, SOEs, private sectors, universities, NGOs, food associations and farmers, including building synergies with stakeholders from the international world," said Arief.

The 42nd AFSRB meeting was attended by representatives of all ASEAN member countries, the ASEAN Secretariat, the AFSRB Secretariat, the APTERR Secretariat (ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve), and the AFSIS Secretariat (ASEAN Food Security Information System).

The delegations of the Republic of Indonesia consist of the National Food Agency, the Ministry of Agriculture, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and several food and agricultural experts.