Nusa Dua (ANTARA News) - The ASEAN leaders on Saturday discussed the possibility of increasing the ASEAN+3 (ASEAN Plus China, Japan, South Korea) rice stock from the current 787,000 tons to 1 million tons.

"Increasing the rice stock was one of the topics discussed in the ASEAN Business and Investment Summit," Deputy Trade Minister Bayu Krisnamurti said on the sidelines of the 19th ASEAN Summit and the 6th East Asia Summit here on Saturday.

It had earlier been decided to set the volume of rice stocks for the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) at 787,000 tons to be supplied by 13 countries, namely 300,000 tons by China, 250,000 tons by Japan, 150,000 tons by South Korea and 87,000 tons by ASEAN`s 10 member countries.

Indonesia would be responsible for supplying 12,000 tons but it said it was able to contribute 25,000 tons.

Bayu said that the proposal to increase the rice reserves from 787,000 tons to 1 million tons was logical as an anticipatory measure in the face of unforeseen emergencies such as the floods that have hit Thailand.

In the meantime, Japan has said earlier it is interested to set up an emergency rice reserve center to help countries affected by harvest failure, according to deputy cabinet secretary at the Japanese prime minister`s office Noriyuki Shikata.

"Japan is interested in improving food security and setting up an emergency rice reserve center. This will be important when countries are affected by harvest failure," Noriyuki said at the Media Center of the Bali Nusa Dua Convention Center (BNDCC) on Friday.

He said Japan would team up with China and South Korea to establish the center. "Each of the center`s members will contribute rice to build a rice reserves and we have already negotiated with them," he said.(*)

Editor: Aditia Maruli Radja
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