WEF calls on East Asia to strengthen food security

By , on May 22, 2014

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MANILA — East Asian countries must strengthen its cooperation for food security in the coming years, World Economic Forum (WEF) on East Asia Co-chair and World Wide Fund (WWF) International President Yolanda Kakabadse said during the first day of the WEF East Asia meeting in Manila.

On the closing plenary of Grow Asia Agriculture Forum Wednesday, Kakabadse said food security is now an urgent issue not only in East Asia but globally as well.

“Given the unprecedented growth of human population and stress on our one and only planet, we must find a way to produce more food in the next forty years than we have produced for the last thousand years,” she explained.

In order to achieve food security, Kakabadse mentioned three areas in which the region should focus.

First, East Asian countries must give attention to wasted food.

She cited an international study that 43 percent of packed foods in the world goes to waste.

“Too much of the food we produced is wasted and we need to manage it,” she stressed.

“The second is distribution. Better production system will not solve the problem we face unless they are supported by better distribution system,” Kakabadse said citing the second area that East Asia must look into.

Third, East Asian countries should manage inputs.

“There is immense competition for key resources like land and water. Without the efficient use underpinned with good planning and equitable governance of these resources, we will be solving one problem while creating more aggravating problems,” she noted.

“We are working together across the sectors and linking consumption and production more holistically by, for example: creating regulatory enabling conditions, market base instruments and open dialogue,” she added.

Kakabadse stressed that East Asian countries must have an effective collaboration and promote governance and inclusiveness among economic sector, government, and civil society in food security issue.

“Food production is one of the key economic sectors dependent on the ecosystem… Managing natural capital sustainability is key for sustaining food supply agricultural and fisheries livelihood, and resilience and human well-being more broadly,” she noted.

“This means that ensuring national, sectoral development strategies take full acct of this state of natural assets. In planning investments, in infrastructure, land use allocation, setting standards for environmental management and production, including allocation of resources like water,” she added.

Moreover, during the first day of the WEF on East Asia stakeholders in the region discussed issues and identified common challenges in agriculture and come up with solutions to be undertaken by each East Asian nation.