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Agriculture and Food Security Issues in Asia and the Pacific

Two-thirds of the world's one billion hungry reside in Asia and the Pacific. Rising food prices are bringing the specter of food shortages and undernutrition to millions more of the region's poor.

Both rural and urban poor spend more than half of their income on food. Recurrent food price spikes are a setback for attaining the Millennium Development Goals, especially those related to poverty and hunger reduction.

It is estimated that close to 50% of the population will be living in urban areas by 2026. Supplying growing cities with adequate and affordable food is a major challenge, requiring massive investments in food distribution, storage, and marketing facilities.

This section highlights the issues and trends in agriculture, food security, and rural development faced by developing countries in Asia and the Pacific.

  • Agricultural and Food Productivity

    To keep pace with population growth, food production in developing Asia and the Pacific will need to increase mainly through improved land and labor productivity.

  • Access to Rural Finance, Technology, and Markets

    Strengthening the links between food producers with their input suppliers as well as consumers creates a win-win arrangement for all players in the food supply chain.

  • Food Price Volatility

    In 2007–2008, as world cereal prices peaked (rising by as much as 87%), global food stocks plummeted to levels not seen in two decades.

  • Climate Resilience and Environmental Sustainability

    Developing countries in Asia and the Pacific are likely to face the highest reductions in agricultural potential in the world due to climate change.