Bogor, West Java — Delegates from ASEAN countries have signe a Memorandum of Understanding to jump start a cooperation pilot project on the reduction of post harvest losses during a regional consultation meeting on Monday (05/02) in Bogor, West Java. The cooperation was one of the ASEAN Projects that was initiated at the Senior Officials Meeting of the 2012 Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture and Forestry in Manila. The project was named the ASEAN Secretariat Program last October, with the funding from Japan ASEAN Integration Fund (JAIF). The regional consultation meeting in Bogor saw the attendance of experts and officials on agriculture as well as representatives from farmers groups and the private sector. The meeting was opened by the Office of the Coordinating Economic Minister’s food and agricultural coordination deputy, Musdalifah Machmud. In her opening remarks, Musdalifah said major progress must be made, as one third of the world’s available food was lost during the post harvest chain, an amount that could feed 868 million people. She said post harvest losses in Indonesia remained high, with average losses of over 20 percent. Musdalifah stressed that because of this, agriculture was still a priority for Indonesia. “The government is developing rural and agricultural infrastructure that facilitate not only production but also procurement, processing, preservation and trade,” she said. She said the source of food loss was split evenly in the post-harvest chain across the stages of production, distribution and consumption. “Reducing post-harvest losses, especially in developing countries, could be a sustainable solution to increasing food avilablity, she said.