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Food Security Issues in Asia

Dialogues - Food Security Issues - post-event

60% of the world population is residing in Asia — and currently the ability for the region to produce enough food to feed its people is a concern. With Asia also being a major importer of food, including staples, how can the region better secure its food supply?

On 27 March 2024, The HEAD Foundation was pleased to host the launch of “Food Security in Asia” a book edited by Prof Paul Teng, Managing Director and Dean at the National Institute of Education International (NIEI), Singapore, and a Fellow at The HEAD Foundation. We were honoured to have Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, Executive Deputy Chairman at S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), deliver the opening message and provide an overview of the book’s theme.

Recent geopolitical issues and the COVID-19 pandemic have shown the impact of disruptions to the international food chain. Different elements in the food system are also strongly inter-connected, making food security more complex. This was highlighted by Prof Teng who spoke about increasing food production in a way that minimises the negative impact to environment and society.

Prof Jeyakumar Henry, Senior Advisor at the Singapore Institute of Food and Biotechnology Innovation (SIFBI), A*STAR, pointed out that in Asia, there is a dual burden of over-nutrition and under-nutrition, and many people belong to the base of the global socioeconomic pyramid. Hence it is important to develop low-cost and higher value nutrition solutions to enhance food security in the region.

Dr J.M.L. Montesclaros, Research Fellow at RSIS, shared insights from his research which examines inclusion of digital technologies in agriculture revolution. Besides looking into how farmers can tap on technology to inform their  decision making and production, it also examined the use of technology in e-commerce and finance.

Dr Andrew Powell, CEO of Asia BioBusiness, highlighted that while there is a decrease in funding for agri-food innovation, more has been allocated upstream to look at innovative food production that creates impact for society. One example is biotechnology. However, regulations have created bottlenecks which could be addressed by enhanced communications.

The speakers also addressed attendees’ queries related to sustainability, social responsibilities, financing of novel food, affordability of technology to farmers, labour supply and fair wages, energy sources, climate impact, and more.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the speakers in this webinar are their own and do not represent the opinions of The HEAD Foundation.

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