- Asia must transform its agriculture to tackle challenges from three ongoing trends: changing demand, changing demographics, and a changing and fragile environment.
Food demand is increasing and shifting toward animal products, requiring more resource-intensive agricultural production. But Asia’s agricultural productivity is hindered by a rural population that is shrinking and aging. And the sector is exposed to risks from a changing climate, and from agricultural practices that are environmentally unsustainable.
- Innovation can help farmers increase agricultural productivity and meet evolving demand in a sustainable way.
New approaches have emerged to help Asia’s smallholder farmers access agricultural machine services and increase labor productivity. Improved technologies and practices are helping farmers increase productivity while reducing overuse of chemical inputs and water. And rapid but regulated expansion of aquaculture production in Asia can provide consumers animal protein from seafood products.
- Support systems are needed for Asia’s farmers.
Early warning systems and insurance programs can mitigate impacts of extreme weather shocks on farmers and rural communities. Expanding value chains will allow farmers to diversify their production to high-value crops. Digital technologies can assist farmers and traders reach new markets, just as they helped urban consumers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Government policies should focus less on traditional production support, and instead encourage market-oriented innovations.