HA NOI — Agriculture ministers and officials from 40 Asia-Pacific countries are seeking ways to stabilise food prices, boost food security, reduce hunger and stem the depletion of natural resources at a five-day conference opened yesterday by the United Nations' Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) in Ha Noi.
Cao Duc Phat, Vietnamese minister of agriculture and rural development, said food security and rural poverty reduction needed to be urgently addressed because there were nearly 1 billion people in the world living in hunger and poverty – 65 per cent of whom were from the Asia-Pacific region.
factors such as the global economic crisis, climate change, reduction of farm land and water resources and falling agricultural investment had aggravated the situation, he said.
Phat urged senior FAO officers in the Asia-Pacific region to work out effective ways to combat these issues.
Hiroyuki Konuma, Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO, said: "We must produce more food in the Asia-Pacific for an ever-increasing population. Greater supply and availability of nutritious and safe foods at affordable prices, combined with nutritional awareness and education, will increase food security.
"Farmers must unite and strengthen their bargaining power – supported by capacity development, better access to markets and other value chain technologies."
However, governments and international partners have been reducing agricultural support and investment.
He said the focus of the conference should be increased investment in agriculture and food security.
The Asia-Pacific region holds more than 60 per cent of the world's population. — VNS