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Building Food Security and Managing Risk in Southeast Asia

image of Building Food Security and Managing Risk in Southeast Asia

This report explores effective policy solutions to the current and future challenges related to food security in the countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). While robust GDP growth, rising agricultural productivity and output, and strong growth in agricultural incomes have all contributed to vast improvements in the food security of the region, 60 million people remain undernourished. ASEAN governments have therefore justifiably kept food security as a policy priority. The regional policy architecture set out in ASEAN frameworks provides sound guidance, yet some of the current policies adopted by members are not helping to address food insecurity and its causes, including the formidable challenges related to climate change and the need for continued growth in sustainable food production to feed growing populations. This report puts forward a number of policy recommendations to ensure that the ASEAN agricultural and fisheries sectors contribute effectively and efficiently to ensuring regional food security.

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Overview of challenges and opportunities for improving food security in Southeast Asia

The past 20 years have witnessed unprecedented changes in the economies and the agricultural and fisheries sectors of the countries that comprise the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).1 Robust gross domestic product (GDP) growth, rising agricultural productivity and output, and strong growth in agricultural incomes have all contributed to significant improvements in the region’s food security. The agricultural sector has undergone considerable structural adjustment, shedding a substantial amount of labour across all ASEAN member countries between the early 1990s and early 2010s, while simultaneously increasing production (World Bank, 2016). Despite these changes, the production mix of ASEAN as a whole has remained relatively stable, with rice continuing to represent the single largest production activity in value terms.

English

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