The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the members of the Southeast Asian University Consortium for Graduate Education in Agriculture and Natural Resources (University Consortium) have collaborated on a research project entitled "Food Reserves: A Comparative Study on Food Reserve Management and Policies in Southeast Asia." This initiative is in line with SEARCA's umbrella program on Food and Nutrition Security for Southeast Asia 2014-2019, which has also been adopted by the University Consortium since August 2014.
The project which specifically focuses on rice as the primary commodity and may include other commodities to be decided by partner institutions aims to (1) define and understand the importance of keeping food stocks and reserves, and the rationale behind countries' decision to stockpile; (2) identify commodities that countries stockpile and the modalities and mechanisms of food stockpiling that have been adopted, including physical, virtual, trade, national, and regional mechanisms; (3) examine the implications of a changing regional trade regime on a country's food stocks, as well as the impact of individual countries' food reserves on a regional stockpiling mechanism such as the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR); and (4) explore the feasibility of establishing other types of regional stockpiles beyond reserves.
The project officially started in May 2015 and is expected to run until May 2017 with Dr. Paul Teng of the Center for Non-Traditional Security Studies of the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University (RSIS/NTS) and SEARCA's Senior Fellow on Food Security, being the Principal Researcher. Currently, the project team is in the process of designing and developing a survey instrument for pilot testing among partners. Results of the survey will serve as input in the analysis of food reserve management and policies among Southeast Asian countries. Further, a regional workshop on food stocks will be organized to improve understanding on the role of food reserves in national and regional food security. The project will be concluded with a publication of a policy brief and key project findings.