1. The Thirteenth Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF) was held on 31 October-2 November 1991 in Chiang Rai, Thailand. The Meeting was preceded by a Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on 28-29 October 1991.
2. The Meeting was attended by H.E. Pehin Dato Hj Abdul Rahman bin Dato Hj Mohd. Taib, Minister of Industry and Primary Resources of Brunei Darussalam; H.E. Mr. Hasjrul Harahap, Minister of Forestry of Indonesia; H.E. Datuk Seri Sanusi bin Junid, Minister of Agriculture of Malaysia; H.E. Mr. Senen C. Bacani, Secretary of Agriculture of the Philippines, and H.E. Mr. Fulgencio S. Factoran, Jr., Secretary of Environment and Natural Resources of the Philippines; H.E. Mr. Lim Hng Kiang, Minister of State for National Development of Singapore; H.E. Dr. Anat Arbhabhirama, Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand, and H.E. Dr. Ajva Taulananda, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Cooperative of Thailand and their respective delegations. The representatives of the Secretary-General of the ASEAN Secretariat were also present.
3. H.E. Dr. Anat Arbhabhirama, Leader of the Thai Delegation, and H.E. Mr. Hasjrul Harahap, Leader of Indonesian Delegation were elected Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Thirteenth Meeting of AMAF, respectively.
4. The Ministers expressed their thanks and appreciation to H.E. Anand Panyarachun, Prime Minister of Thailand, for receiving the Ministers at the Government House in Bangkok on 31 October 1991.
5. The Ministers reviewed the progress of activities undertaken during the past year with the view of enhancing ASEAN cooperation in the field of food, agriculture and forestry in the 1990’s, which cover the cooperation in crops, fishery, livestock, forestry as well as common policies on international agricultural trade plant and animal quarantine, agricultural training and extension, agricultural development planning, food handling and food security.
6. The Ministers paid special attention to emerging realities and challenges in international agricultural trade. They noted the intensification of protectionism among the developed countries. Such attitude endangered the noble goals of the UR-GATT, and pose specific barriers to the expansion of ASEAN agricultural exports. The Ministers then directed the mounting of a special task force of senior officials to address the issue of new, bold initiatives of ASEAN in agricultural trade.
7. This task force initially chaired by Thailand will review and formulate new policy guidelines for concerted efforts of ASEAN COFAF in the context of :
- solving the problems created by the dynamic changes in both international and regional agriculture production, processing, marketing and trade, ASEAN Agricultural Products;
- enhancing the promotion of ASEAN inter and intra agricultural trade of ASEAN, ASEAN Agricultural Products; and
- ensuring the sustainable growth and regional comparative advantage in food, agriculture and forestry.
8. The Ministers also deliberated on future directions in ASEAN cooperation in the 1990’s to forge a closer economic alliance to meet the challenges of the dynamic of recent global affairs and the regional economic realities currently facing ASEAN. Within this context the Ministers also identified and formulated common issues and strategies as an input for the forth-coming Fourth ASEAN Summit to be held in Singapore in January 1992.
9. The Ministers appreciated the role of the private sector through ASEAN-CCI in promoting ASEAN agricultural products and supported the ASEAN-CCI proposed criteria for the selection of agricultural products for the further promotion. The Ministers further agreed to include twelve (12) products in the initial list, namely, frozen chicken meat, frozen prawns, canned pineapple, palm oil, rubber, timber products, tapioca, coconut oil, canned tuna, carrageenan, cocoa and pepper. Promotional programs and negotiations on these products will be initiated as soon as possible by the ASEAN Governments and the private sector.
10. The Ministers also noted that the ASEAN Fisheries Federation (AFF) is actively playing an effective role in forging closer rapport between the importer and producer countries of ASEAN, by – inviting importers from developed countries such as Japan and USA for dialogues in its Council meetings.
11. With regard to cooperation in forestry, the Ministers agreed that ASEAN should undertake a sustained programme of action as a follow-up to the ASEAN ministerial missions despatched to counter the anti-tropical timber campaign. The sustained programme of action would be based on cooperative efforts between ASEAN and developed countries in various aspects regarding research and development in forestry; tropical forest management; development of timber-based industries; and the processing and marketing of timber products. On the UNCED preparation process, particularly in forestry-related issues, the Ministers also agreed to have a common ASEAN stand to ensure that the issue of forestry must be addressed in a holistic and balanced manner within the context of environment and development.
12. In the field of livestock, the Ministers noted that in early 1991, the ASEAN FMD Study Team had completed a study of the FMD status in four island provinces of the Philippines, namely, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and Batanes. IrFview of COFAF’s favourable endorsement of the Study Team’s report and recommendations, the Ministers approved the Philippines’ application to declare the four island provinces as FMD Free Zones. The Ministers furthermore agreed to endorse ten (10) new standards of vaccines and the revisions on the original eighteen (18) standards of vaccines to facilitate intra-ASEAN trade and movement of animal vaccines.
13. The Ministers also noted that the ASEAN Plant Quarantine Centre and Training Institute (ASEAN-PLANTI) had developed collaborative activities with various regional and international bodies operating in the field of plant quarantine. These actions were aimed at setting up harmonized standards of plant quarantine to facilitate trade of ASEAN agricultural products and to prevent the entry of exotic pests into the region.
14. In promoting the exchange of views and experiences among ASEAN farmers, the Ministers noted that Thailand successfully conducted the Second ASEAN Farmers Week from 9-16 May 1991, and that the Third ASEAN Farmers Week would be hosted by Malaysia in August 1992. The Ministers also noted the establishment of the ASEAN Rural Youth Development Centre (ARYDEC) in Bangkok, Thailand which would function as a coordinating unit for activities under the project on “Preparing Rural Youth for a Better Future in Agriculture”.
15. In view of the valuable contributions that International Agricultural Research Centre (IARCs) have made toward enhancing agricultural research and development of the region in the past three decades, the Ministers recognized the critical role of IARCs in general and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in particular and noted with appreciation their significant role in improving the productivity of ASEAN farmers and fisherfolk, in ASEAN and other countries.
16. The Ministers accepted the offer of Indonesia to host the 14th AMAF Meeting in late 1992.
17. The Delegations from Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines and Singapore expressed their sincere appreciation and thanks to the Government and people of Thailand for the warm hospitality accorded them and for the excellent arrangements made for the meeting. The Meeting also expressed appreciation to the ASEAN Secretariat for its valuable assistance throughout the Meeting.
18. The Meeting was held in the traditional spirit of ASEAN solidarity and cordiality.