Southeast Asia, May 17, 2017
According to the World Food Programme, 795 million people — one in nine — go to bed on an empty stomach each night. Even more – one in three – suffer from some form of malnutrition.
Some 60.5 million of the world’s undernourished are in Southeast Asia. The region’s population is expected to reach 721 million by 2030, up from 608 million people now, placing the food supply under intense pressure.
Climate change poses additional challenges for the region’s agricultural economy, as prolonged droughts and increasingly unpredictable monsoon rain patterns affect planting cycles and crop yields.
So, how will Southeast Asia bring about a resilient and sustainable food future for its people over the next 15 years?
This was the focus of the Grow Asia forum at the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) on ASEAN in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.
With food demand in Southeast Asia predicted to rise by up to 40 per cent by 2050, Grow Asia, an initiative established by WEF in cooperation with the ASEAN Secretariat to improve food production and the livelihoods of smallholder farmers, proposed a two-step approach to ensuring sufficient and sustainably grown food for all: rapid innovation in the agricultural sector, and engaging young farmers and entrepreneurs to embrace sustainable agriculture solutions.