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Tuesday, March 11, 2014

FAO warns on Asia, Pacific food insecurity

Governments in Asia and the Pacific have been warned to take some major, fundamental decisions and very soon too on ways to increase their food production and address undernourishment, reports NaijaAgroNet.

The warning came as nearly 40 FAO member countries gathered in the Mongolian capital for the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific to examine the state of food and agriculture in the region and a number of other important agriculture-related issues.

NaijaAgroNet reports that while the Asia-Pacific region is making good progress in reducing under-nutrition, it still has more hungry people than all the other regions of the world combined – more than 550 million. 

The Millennium Development Goal of reducing hunger by half by 2015 is on course to be met, and in Southeastern Asia has already been achieved. Timor-Leste has launched a national campaign to take forward the fight against hunger beyond 2015, inspired by the UN’s global Zero Hunger Challenge (with a goal of 2025).

However, the region as a whole needs to improve food production systems and delivery to consumers or face significant food security problems within the next generation. Indeed some developing countries in Asia and the Pacific will need to increase their food production by up to 77 percent to feed their people by 2050, when the world’s population is expected to top nine billion.

Asia and the Pacific accounts for more than 90 percent of world rice production and consumption. The region’s food security and people’s livelihoods are very much dependent on rice. As a response to a request by FAO member countries, FAO has produced a Regional Rice Strategy which is being discussed at the regional level for finalization.

Farming, fishing and forestry practices need to be modernized and made more profitable, while countries in the region must take serious, coordinated steps to reduce food losses and food waste, which is as high as 30-50 percent regarding grains, fruits and vegetables.

Accordingly, FAO launched the regional Save Food Asia-Pacific campaign in August 2013 with an aim to promote public awareness of the need to minimize food losses and food waste.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE

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