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Ensuring food security is top priority for APEC ministers

By Prachuap Khiri Khan

BANGKOK, Thailand – Agriculture and food ministers from APEC member economies are expediting actions on a regional and domestic level to combat food insecurity by encouraging digitalization and innovation, improving productivity, promoting diversity, prioritizing sustainability and enhancing public-private partnerships.

A recent report by United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization painted a grim picture, where globally, 2.3 billion or nearly 30 percent of the global population were food insecure in 2021. Between 702 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. On top of these 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 this 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,” said minister Chalermchai.

“The health, economic and environmental challenges put tremendous amounts of stress to the global food system,” minister Chalermchai added. “It is necessary to realign APEC’s work and goals towards building a strong, inclusive and resilient community that can stand future shocks.”

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, boost innovation as well as research and development,” minister Chalermchai added. “We must also enhance cooperation in the agricultural sector and ensure that we expand our stakeholder network. The private sector and grassroot communities play crucial role in ensuring food security.”

“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 market-driven production approach.”

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 border clearance system for perishable goods, among others.



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