ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry have affirmed the active contributions by the agriculture, forestry and food sector to building the ASEAN Community by 2015 and implementing the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.

They issued a joint declaration at the 33rd ASEAN Ministers of Agriculture and Forestry (AMAF-33) Meeting in Jakarta, Indonesia, on Oct. 6.

Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Nguyen Thi Xuan Thu attended the event.

The meeting elected Indonesia Minister of Agriculture Suswono as President and Laos Minister of Agriculture and Forestry Vilayvanh Phomkhe as Vice President of AMAF-33.

At the meeting, participants voiced their support for measures to build the ASEAN Community in the 2009-2015 period and highlighted progress in the agriculture, forestry and food sector in raising their capacity to ensure food security while facing the impacts of climate change.

ASEAN Deputy Secretary General Sundram Pushpanathgan briefed the participants on output of the ASEAN agricultural sector and the assistance programme to the sector in the 2011-2012 period.

The meeting also discussed issues proposed by the ASEAN Agriculture and Forestry Senior Officials Meeting, including the guidance of plant quarantine, the application of ASEAN standards on a number of farm products, the enhancement of cooperation between ASEAN and the World Organisation for Animal Health and ensuring food security and sustainable fishing for ASEAN until 2020.

On the afternoon of Oct. 6, ASEAN agriculture and forestry leaders held talks with representatives of the private sector to boost the sector’s involvement in ensuring food safety and security.

The 11th AMAF Plus Three Meeting is scheduled to take place on Oct. 7 and the first AMAF-India meeting is expected to be held on Oct. 8./.