I recently attended a one-day regional forum organised by the Human Life Advancement Foundation (HLAF) in Thailand. The meeting, held on 17th May 2017, sought to identify ways in which HLAF and other organisations, like CABI, can contribute to achieving food security especially through science, technology and innovation.
During the meeting, we talked about ways to create a knowledge sharing platform for experts in related fields to share experiences and ideas around agricultural technology and innovation. It was also an opportunity to identify collaboration opportunities between HLAF and other organisations that share the common interest of contributing to global food security.
There is an increasing pressure on agriculture to meet food demands of a growing global population. It has been projected that by 2050, there will be an additional 1 billion people to feed especially in Africa and Asia. An expected exponential growth in global population means there will be an increased demand for food, water and energy. However, production resources such as land and water remaind fixed in supply and subject to depletion.
This meeting therefore gave us an opportunity to discuss technical issues relating to the definition of food security; the economics and politics of food distribution; the reliability of existing science, technology and innovations in agriculture; water shortage; and the safety of genetically modified crops.
Key points agreed in the meeting include:
- There is a need to address and reduce the gap between the four dimensions of food security. These dimensions are – food availability, food accessibility, food utilization and food stability;
- Governments have a key role to play in providing supporting infrastructure and enabling policies to enhance food security;
- Alternative crops and food varieties that are more adapted to climate change should be promoted to enhance food security;
- New technologies and agricultural innovations should be adaptable, reliable and affordable in order to ensure that they can be sustainable and support the goals of food security;
- Food safety is an important aspect of nutrition. Therefore, food should be produced using environmental friendly practices.
Stakeholders in this meeting included representatives from CABI, Better Rice Initiative, Thailand; Mekong Institute, Thailand, Malaysian Bioeconomy Development Corporation, CropLife Asia, Malaysian Agricultural Research And Development Institute, Asian Centre of Innovation for Sustainable Agriculture Intensification, World Vegetable Centre, Centro Thai Group and Fields Crops Research Insititute, Vietnam.
We look forward to working in partnership , to address these issues, especially through the use of knowledge, science, technology and innovation.
Blog by CABI’s Southeast Asia and South Pacific Regional Director, Dr Sivapragasam Annamalai