FAO regional conference to address key issues

State of food and agriculture in the Asia Pacific region, including future prospects and emerging issues, are some of the key topics being discussed at a regional conference in Vietnam.

Sustainable intensification and diversification of crops and agriculture towards food and nutrition security is another key topic besides value chain development and post-harvest loss reduction for smallholder farmers.

More than 200 delegates from the Asia and Pacific region including PNG and observers from international agencies have gathered in Hanoi city for the 31st Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) regional conference this week.

The conference is important considering that the majority of the world’s undernourished live in the Asia-Pacific region. It has been emphasised that investment in agriculture by both the private and public sectors is vital to eradication of food insecurity and malnutrition.

Delegates to the FAO conference will look at the factors such as subsidies, public goods and the role of gender, and discuss future prospects and other emerging issues. There is serious concern that despite some positive outcomes in availability of food supplies there is increasing growth in population in many countries in the region.

There are increasing challenges such as climate change, water scarcity, land degradation and others which are having negative impact on food security in the long term. Delegates will discuss ways to face these challenges and come up with action areas that individual countries need to implement. The region must double its food production in order to feed an additional 1.5 billion people by the year 2050. Delegates will be outlining their views on the priorities for addressing such national and regional needs.

Another major issue for discussion is the rising prices of food. Delegates are expected to share experiences and perspectives on s short and long-term policy options at international, regional and national levels to reduce price volatility and help stakeholders, especially the poor, manage the associated risks and uncertainty and the impacts of price volatility.

The conference will also discuss the report and consultation on the outcomes of the 37th session of the Committee on World Food Security and follow up actions at regional and country levels, report on FAO activities in the region, programme of work, budget and areas of priority actions for the region for the following biennium 2014-15.

PNG is being represented by senior officials from the Department of Agriculture and Livestock led by Acting Deputy Secretary for Policy, Masayan Moat.

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