The United States Government and ASEAN marked the launch of a three-year project to facilitate the trade of food commodities in Southeast Asia today at the ASEAN Secretariat, Jakarta. The project, Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge,Enterprise Development, and Trade (MARKET), aims to improve food security for ASEAN Member States and contribute to ASEAN regional integration by enabling freer movement of food products and commodities.
“Boosting food trade will improve the lives of ASEAN citizens by reducing costs and increasing the variety of food products available in local markets,” said U.S. Ambassador David Carden. “More trade provides more business opportunities, which translates into new jobs in the transportation, manufacturing, wholesaling and retail businesses that depend on a ready supply of agricultural products.”
MARKET is part of the joint USAID and U.S. Department of State-funded ADVANCE program, and a component of the U.S. Government’s Global Hunger and Food Security Initiative. The program was featured in a special fact sheet the White House released in November 2011, on the eve of the ASEAN-U.S. Summit, noting that “the United States, under President Obama’s global Feed the Future initiative and through the ASEAN Secretariat, will support a program to promote the role of the private sector and public-private dialogue on food security policies and solutions.”