LOS BAÑOS, Laguna, Philippines – A regional study on the food stocks and reserves of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian countries has been launched.
The research is being undertaken by the Philippine government-hosted Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and member-institutions of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC).
The UC is a network of universities in SEAMEO countries, Canada, Germany, and Japan.
SEARCA, currently headed by Director Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., is one of the regional centers of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), an inter-government treaty body founded in 1965 to promote cooperation among Southeast Asian nations in the fields of education, science, and culture.
Saguiguit said the study aims “to define and determine the importance of keeping food stocks and reserves, and the rationale behind the decision of countries to stockpile.” It will also identify commodities stockpiled and the modalities and mechanisms of food stockpiling that have been adopted, including physical, virtual, trade, national, and regional mechanisms.
Other objectives of the study include examining the implications of a changing regional trade regime on a country’s food stocks, as well as exploring the feasibility of establishing other types of regional stockpiles beyond reserves.
The study is expected to be completed in May 2017. Its principal researcher is Dr. Paul Teng of the Center for Nontraditional Security Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University in Singapore and a SEARCA senior fellow on food security.
“Given the potential role that stocks and reserves can play to stabilize food availability at the country and regional levels, it is important to study the policies, processes, and technologies that allow this to be a viable strategy in Southeast Asia,” Teng said.
Countries stockpile food, particularly rice, in different modalities and adopt a mix of trade instruments.
Thus, SEARCA chose rice as a starting point to study food reserve management processes and policies in Southeast Asia.