More impactful partnership to address Asia’s “Gathering Food Security Storm” urged by regional plant science industry

CropLife Asia makes appeal to region’s food supply stakeholders with kick-off of Food and Agriculture Organization Asia-Pacific meeting.

As the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations (UN) convened virtually to begin its Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, CropLife Asia took the opportunity to raise the growing threat posed by a number of factors to the region’s food supply and the critical need for shared, sustainable solutions driven by stakeholder collaboration across the food value chain.

Dr Tan Siang Hee, executive director for CropLife Asia, commented: “Our regional supply of safe and nutritious food is being threatened like never before. These unprecedented times call for an unprecedented response – including strong partnership among the region’s food supply stakeholders.

“In the fields, regional farmers are contending with limited natural resources, increasingly erratic weather, and a greater number of weeds, diseases and pests with which to content. Sadly, the COVID-19 pandemic has only added to the pressure to our regional growers as well as the larger food supply chain.

“The meetings this week are a great opportunity to being our regional food supply stakeholders closer together in delivering shared solutions. It’s critical that we use this opportunity to drive more impactful partnership across the food supply chain and meet the challenges posed by the gathering food security storm we face in Asia.”

Earlier this year, the UN’s 2020 State of Food Security & Nutrition in the World report concluded that almost 690 million globally went hungry in 2019. The research also indicated that Asia is home to the greatest number of undernourished people.

In another policy brief released by the UN, The Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Nutrition, serious concerns were also raised regarding the effect COVID-19 is having globally on the most vulnerable parts of society already experiencing hunger and malnutrition.

Plant science continues to play a role in helping feed the growing global population. Biotech crops are developed with improved traits such as increased yield, better resistance to pest and improved nutrition, among others. These traits are tools that enable farmers to meet global challenges such as food insecurity.

Meanwhile, farmers continue to rely on crop protection products to produce more food on less land and raise productivity per hectare. Without crop protection solutions, 40% of global rice and maize harvests could be lost annually, and losses for fruits and vegetables could be as high as 50-90%, CropLife Asia added.