"Nichts mehr davon, ich bitt euch. Zu essen gebt ihm, zu wohnen.
Habt ihr die Blöße bedeckt, gibt sich die Würde von selbst."
Friedrich Schiller
  May 2008 FOOD

Malaysis's Prime Minister at Future of Asia Conference Stresses Food Production

Malaysia's Prime Minister, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, wants to see Asean intensify its agricultural cooperation to manage escalating food prices in the region.

"Co-operating in and facilitating the supply of rice among Asean members would be a priority in the wake of the fast emerging food security problem.... This includes the strengthening of the Asean food security reserve and the East Asia emergency rice reserve involving the Asean-plus-three dialogue partners (China, Japan and South Korea)," the prime minister said at a press conference in conjunction with the Nikkei Conference on the Future of Asia in Tokyo yesterday.

..... "We have to work together towards increasing production of food, improving yield and introducing biotechnology towards building a stockpile and ensuring food security," he said. .... Food security has become the region's biggest concern as the prices of food, especially rice, are at an all-time high in nearly all countries. The rising prices of food, fuel, and other commodities around the world are decreasing the value of incomes and causing widespread hardship among the region's poor. Inflation is at a 26-year high in Singapore, a 12-year high in China and a 10-year high in Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Malaysia, inflation would have been high as well if not for government subsidies provided for some essential commodities, food and fuel.

Earlier in his keynote address, Abdullah expressed optimism about East Asia becoming a region of true peace and real prosperity, saying that “there can be no doubt that regional peace and prosperity begins at the national level.” "Essentially, salvation lies in our own hands," he said, adding that East Asian countries should not focus just on what each could do on its own, but what they could do together.