Regional cooperation for food security: the case of emergency rice reserves in the ASEAN plus three

After the food price crisis in 2008, interest in international emergency food reserves has been revived worldwide. This paper presents the rationale for an international emergency food reserve, its role in mitigating food security risk in relation to alternative instruments, and its complementarity with normal international food trade. This then reviews international experience in emergency food reserves, focusing on the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and neighboring countries, and discusses the case of the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve, established in October 2011. The paper identifies practical challenges facing the operation of emergency food reserves, and outlines a corresponding agenda for policy setting and research.