ASEAN countries and their three partners, China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, have agreed to build a 800,000 tonne rice stock to offset the destabilizing effects caused by natural disasters.

The agreement was signed during a meeting of agro-forestry ministers of ten ASEAN countries and the three partners in Bali , Indonesia , on November 15.

Under the agreement, China will contribute 300,000 tonnes of rice to the stock while Japan and the Republic of Korea will provide 250,000 tonnes and 150,000 tonnes respectively. The rest 87, 000 tonnes will be provided by the 10 ASEAN countries.

ASEAN Secretary-General Surin Pitsuwan was quoted by Reuters as saying that definitely, the supply of rice for many Asia n nations will be affected, that's why the food security arrangement among the ASEAN+3 is very timely and important.

Rice output of Thailand , the world’s largest rice exporter, is estimated to decrease by 4 million tonnes to 21 million tonnes this year, seriously affecting rice supplies for ASEAN nations.

At the meeting, the ministers of the 13 countries also inked a memorandum of understanding reaffirming their commitment to advancing cooperation in food, agriculture and forestry sectors across the region./.