From Afghanistan and Iran in the west, across populous South and East Asia, and far out into the Pacific Islands, the Covid 19 pandemic has dealt a heavy blow on the lives of the people with many countries struggling hard in the fight against hunger and malnutrition.
With the countries finding it hard to fight the twin pandemics of hunger and malnutrition, the Food and Agriculture Organization called for new ways and approaches to battle back from these twin pandemics.
Asia-Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s undernourished.
“We must come to terms with what is before us and recognize that the world and our region have changed. We must find new ways to move forward and ensure sustainable food security in the face of these twin pandemics, as well as prepare for threats that can and will evolve in the future,” said Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.
The Asia-Pacific region is home to more than half of the world’s undernourished. The hungry population in Southern Asia is projected to rise by nearly a third to 330 million by 2030.
Taking all these into account and also to formulate strategies, representatives from 46 FAO Member Nations in Asia and the Pacific will get together in a four day virtual conference. They would examine the present situation of the region’s food security, with a particular emphasis on implications linked to the spread of the coronavirus and its impact on food systems region-wide.
More than 400 delegates are participating in a virtual meeting of the 35th session of the FAO Asia and Pacific Region Conference. Jong-Jin Kim said that the virtual conference would bring together people and ideas to chart a true course of action for the benefit of all.
The conference will highlight FAO’s recently launched comprehensive Covid-19 response and Recovery Programme designed to provide a flexible and coordinated global response that aims to ensure access to nutritious food for everyone. The programme includes the mobilization of all forms of resources and partnerships at country, regional and global level. The main aim is to mitigate the immediate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic while strengthening the longer-term resilience of food systems and livelihoods.
The conference will also consider new marketing channels (such as e-commerce) and new technologies (including better storage facilities) that will help reduce food losses, as these are critical to ensure the flow of nutritious foods and to generate improved incomes for those who work across the entire food and agriculture sectors.
Equally critical is enabling smallholder and family farmers – those who produce most of the food we consume – to become more dynamic, entrepreneurial and competitive through continual innovation. Smallholders will need much greater access to financial resources, technology and innovation.