About 40 experts in food security and sustainable agriculture from ASEAN countries met in Bangkok, Thailand to discuss how current food insecurity was being treated and what changes were needed to supply adequate, affordable, accessible, and safe food to meet increasing populations while protecting depleting natural resources at the Regional Knowledge Sharing Consultation “Sustainable Agrifood Systems for Food Security and Sustainable Development in the ASEAN Region” held in between 1-3 May 2017.
The global number of undernourished people is about 795 million which has been reduced by 167 million over the last decade, resulting in just over one in nine were undernourished in 2014 – 2016, based on the State of Food Insecurity in the World 2015 published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Developing regions shows faster progress for the MDG 1c hunger target, particularly Southeast Asia, as the number of undernourished people has continued its steady decrease from 137.5 million in 1990 – 1992 to 60.5 million in 2014 – 2016, equaling to 56 percent of overall reduction.
However, Southeast Asia is still facing challenges on food and nutrition security such as greater food demand as a result of increasing affluence in ASEAN accompanied by population growth, high and volatile food prices, climate change impacts on agriculture, and long-term pressures on food production due to conversion of agricultural lands to industrial areas and migration of labor from rural areas.
According to the United Nations, food production will need to increase by at least 60% over the next 35 years to provide food security for the 9 billion people expected to be living on the planet.
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