In recognition of the need for regional cooperation among ASEAN Member States for food security, the ASEAN Emergency Rice Reserve (AERR) was established as part of the implementation of the ASEAN Food Security Reserve Agreement (AFSR) signed by the ASEAN Ministers of Foreign Affairs in 1979. Under the AERR, ASEAN Member States committed to voluntarily contribute rice to a common regional stockpile. The total stocks under the AERR were 87,000 tons; however, the AERR stocks were neither increased nor utilized
Considering the fact that none of the AERR stocks were utilized, the plan to revive the AERR came about and the idea to strengthen the implementation of the AERR scheme was crystallised in a special workshop on Food Security Cooperation and Rice Reserve Management System in East Asia, held in 2001 in Nakhon Pathom, Thailand. The recommendation from the workshop was to review the possibility of establishing a new rice reserve scheme in East Asia. The proposal was endorsed at the 1st Meeting of the ASEAN Ministers on Agriculture and Forestry Plus Three (AMAF+3), held in 2001 in Medan, Indonesia. The Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives of Thailand was appointed to coordinate the implementation of the feasibility study on food security and rice reserve system in East Asia and afterwards, Japan provided technical cooperation and support to Thailand to conduct the study. The results of the study were presented in a series of Technical Meeting on Rice Reserve (TMRR) in 2002. The key recommendation from the TMRR was to undertake a pilot project of East Asia Emergency Rice Reserve (EAERR), and the recommendation was subsequently submitted to the AMAF+3 for their consideration.
The 2nd Meeting of the AMAF+3, held in 2002 in Vientiane, Lao PDR, approved the pilot project of EAERR, which the membership was broadened to include the Plus Three Countries namely the People’s Republic of China, Japan and the Republic of Korea. Furthermore, the 3rd Meeting of the AMAF+3, held in 2003 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, reaffirmed the importance of establishing EAERR. The pilot project of EAERR, managed by the Management Team (MT) under supervision of Project Steering Committee (PSC), started on 1 March 2004 and terminated on 28 February 2010 with financial support provided by Japan and in-kind support provided by Thailand, in cooperation with other ASEAN Plus Three countries. The EAERR pilot project aims at clarifying details as well as accumulating knowledge and experience of implementation mechanisms including rice reserve management and rice reserve release.
After the food price crisis in 2008, the 14th ASEAN Summit in 2009 adopted the ASEAN Integrated Food Security (AIFS) Framework, supported by a Strategic Plan of Action on Food Security (SPA-FS), as a scope and joint pragmatic approaches for cooperation among ASEAN Member States to ensure long-term food security in the region. The AIFS and the SPA-FS aim to strengthen and expand existing regional initiatives along the components of the AIFS Framework. Supporting the establishment of a long-term mechanism for the ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve is one of the major activities under the AIFS Framework for the purpose of addressing food shortages in the region through the management of a regional food buffer stock.
Following the need to develop a permanent emergency rice reserve mechanism in the region, the 9th Meeting of the AMAF+3, held in 2009 in Bandar Seri Begawan, Brunei, approved the transformation from the pilot project, named EAERR to the new stage as a permanent scheme named, ASEAN Plus Three Emergency Rice Reserve (APTERR) through preparatory stage of the APTERR. The preparatory stage of APTERR, managed by the Secretariat under supervision of Council, started on 1 March 2010 after the termination of the pilot project of EAERR. The APTERR preparatory stage aims at providing ample time for APTERR arrangements, in particular preparing key documents covering institutional, technical and financial aspects, which is a necessary step in establishing the emergency rice reserve scheme under APTERR as a permanent mechanism. The 1st Meeting of APTERR Council was held on 28 March 2013 in Bangkok, Thailand and the APTERR Secretariat was officially launched on 29 March 2013.