“Remedy” for APEC’s food security problem

Sunday, 2021-08-22 09:55:43
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Ensuring a stable food supply is one of the biggest challenges facing APEC economies and the rest of the world. (Photo: apec.org)
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NDO – Agriculture and food ministers from the 21 member countries of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have committed to developing a new roadmap to guide efforts to promote food security over the next ten years.

This is considered a “remedy” to help regional economies in solving one of the most pressing problems today.

According to statistics of the World Bank (WB), nearly 2.37 billion people lacked access to adequate food in 2020, a rise of 320 million in just one year. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to major disruptions in food supply, affecting both production and distribution networks.

The many countries closing their borders and imposing lockdown or travel restriction measures has disrupted the global supply chain, resulting in shortages of labour in agriculture and impacts on food production, processing, transporting and distribution processes.

Meanwhile, droughts, floods and extreme weather events in many places have affected crop yields. The UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) reported that global food prices in May 2021 soared by nearly 40% compared to the same period last year, the highest increase in nearly a decade.

The virtual Food Security Ministerial Meeting, held recently as part of New Zealand’s hosting of APEC 2021, emphasised that ensuring a stable food supply is one of the biggest challenges facing APEC economies and the rest of the world, especially as they recover from the pandemic.

Member economies need to improve their food systems to realise the APEC Vision 2040 for an open, dynamic, resilient, and peaceful Asia-Pacific community.

The Food Security Roadmap Towards 2030 introduced by the APEC ministers incorporates four key areas of focus, namely digitalisation and innovation, productivity, inclusivity, and sustainability.

The Ministerial Statement adopted at the meeting has reaffirmed the commitment to building an open, transparent, productive, sustainable and resilient food system. This is considered an important guideline document towards solving the “food security problem” in the Asia-Pacific region.