JAKARTA, INDONESIANPOST.COM – Agriculture and food ministers from APEC members are expediting regional- and domestic-level actions to combat food insecurity by encouraging digitalization and innovation, improving productivity, promoting diversity, prioritizing sustainability, and enhancing public-private partnerships.
A recent report by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations painted a grim picture, wherein globally, 2.3 billion, or nearly 30 percent of the global population, were food insecure in 2021, as noted in a release issued by the 7th APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting on Saturday.
Between 702 million and 828 million people were affected by hunger in 2021, and it is estimated that nearly 670 million people will still be undernourished by 2030.
In addition to those challenges, the direct and indirect effects of the conflict in 2022 will have multiple implications for global agricultural markets through the channels of trade, production, and prices.
Against such a backdrop, APEC ministers convened at their annual APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting on Friday, chaired by Thailand’s Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives Chalermchai Sri-on.
“Our meeting today highlights the importance and relevance of APEC as a regional forum—whose members are major food and agricultural commodity producers and exporters—as we continue to address the challenges and contribute to the global fight against food insecurity,” Minister Chalermchai said.
He pointed out that the health, economic, and environmental challenges exerted tremendous stress on the global food system.
“It is necessary to realign APEC’s work and goals towards building a strong, inclusive, and resilient community that can stand future shocks,” he stated.
Minister Chalermchai highlighted the significance of women’s role as key drivers of economic and social development in the agricultural sector as well as the importance of empowering agricultural entrepreneurs through innovative products and services and technologies.
“We need to attract more people to work in the agricultural sector to improve work processes and boost innovation as well as research and development,” Chalermchai emphasized.
“We must also enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector and ensure that we expand our stakeholder network. The private sector and grassroots communities play a crucial role in ensuring food security,” he stressed.
He further added that the overarching element to propel sustainability is good and efficient management to reduce losses throughout the supply chain as well as reduce impacts on society and the environment, such as water management, soil management, plant management, as well as farm management, by adopting a market-driven production approach.
APEC ministers endorsed an Implementation Plan of Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 to navigate and coordinate actions, projects, and activities to achieve food security in the region.
The APEC Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 was endorsed last year and aims to build an open, fair, transparent, productive, sustainable, and resilient APEC food system that ensures people always have access to sufficient, safe, affordable, and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.
The implementation plan identifies specific voluntary actions and initiatives that economies may individually or collectively implement, such as the adoption of global data standards for food and agricultural products, the promotion of innovative products and technologies, as well as improvements to the border clearance system for perishable goods, among others.
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