The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and its three partners including China, Japan and the Republic of Korea have agreed to establish a rice reserve in each country to stabilise rice prices.

According to the Jakarta Post on Feb. 28, the agreement was reached by ASEAN Trade Ministers at a two-day meeting in the Lao capital city of Vientiane on Feb. 26-27.

Indonesian Minister of Commerce, Mari Elka Pangestu, who chaired the meeting, said that ASEAN governments have agreed to sign the ASEAN+3 agreement on rice reserves in October with a total stock of 787,000 tonnes.

Surin Pitsuwan, Secretary General of ASEAN also said ASEAN countries should pay attention to impacts of the ongoing crisis in the Middle East, which could lead to a petrol crisis./.