ASEAN is seen a fertile food basket that includes two of the world's largest rice producers, as well as generating huge quantities of crops like palm oil, soya, and sugar cane.
But it also faces climate changes, fragmented land ownership, urbanization and even persistent malnutrition. Another hurdle is protectionism, which still limits intra-bloc cooperation in agriculture despite import tariffs within ASEAN being virtually eliminated.
ASEAN has lately made food security what it calls "a permanent and high priority."
The global spike in food prices in 2007 and 2008 acted as a wake-up call for ASEAN. It spurred ASEAN to create a food security action plan aimed at improving sustainable food trade, sharing information and innovation, and on emergency and shortage relief.
To that end, in 2013, ASEAN, along with China, Japan and South Korea, created an emergency rice reserve which was put into use within months when Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines.
ASEAN has also collaborated with the World Economic Forum to create Grow Asia, which aims to boost the productivity and livelihood of smallholder farmers.