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Food Security in the ASEAN Region

Rosa S. Rolle, Ph.D Senior Agro-Industries and Postharvest Officer FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Food security exists when all people at all times have physical and economic access to safe and nutritious food for a healthy and active life (FAO, 1996).
Ingredients of Food Security

Source: FAO (1995) Dimensions of need-An Atlas of Food and Agriculture

Dimensions of Food Security

Sufficient quantity of food nationally, from domestic production, net imports and other sources
People have adequate resources to obtain food


Affordability of the food supply Utilization

Use of food through diet, clean water, sanitation and health to attain
nutritional well being.


Low risk of losing access to food as a consequence of shocks (economic or climatic risks) or cyclical events Refers to both access and availability.

The Asia-Pacific Context

Asia and the Pacific region recorded the highest economic growth among all regions across the globe over the past decade. Asia and the Pacific Region also recorded the highest number of the worlds chronically hungry population in 2012 536 million people or 62 % of the undernourished.

Great Strides Have Been Made in SEA Toward Reducing Undernourishment During the Period 1990- 2012
160 Number of Undernourished (millions) 140
29.6 %

20 %

15.8 %

80 60

13.2 % 10.9 %

20 0
1990 - 92 1999 2001 2004 2006 2007 2009 2010 2012

Rapid Income Growth Has Supported Growth in Per Capita Food Consumption Across Asian Countries

Dietary Change Supported by Income Growth is Taking Place Across ASEAN Countries
7 % of Total Energy Supply 6 5 4 3 2 1 0 1995-1997 2000 - 2002 2005 - 2007

Source: Selected Indicators , FAO - RAP 2011

The Contribution of Cereals and Starchy Roots to Caloric Intake in Diets is Declining is Declining
70 68

Kilocalories (%)

66 64 62 60 58 Pulses Starch roots Cereals


2000 - 2002

2005 - 2007

Source: Selected Indicators , FAO - RAP 2011

The Region is Rapidly Urbanizing

Urban Population (%)
40 30 20 1990 2011 42.4 43.1






Urban Poverty in ASEAN is Increasing

% U R B A N


Urban Slum Population - Countries in Asia and the Pacific, 2005

Source : UNESCAP


Access to food is a problem for the rural and urban poor


Food Availability in the Region

Since 1975, the regions agriculture has supplied enough food to satisfy demand and reduce food insecurity.


A Number of Factors Threaten the Regions Food Supply

Slowing growth in agricultural production

Declining land and water resources

High Levels of food losses and growing problem of food waste Climate change

Bio-energy production



Underlying Causes of Productivity Decline

Deterioration of soil and water Soil degradation Pest build up Limited expenditure on R& D for upgrading production systems


Is there Enough Land For Food Production?


Are Water Resources Adequate?


Can Food Be Increased from A Fully Exploited Arable Land Base and Scarcity of Water Resources?
FAO projections indicate that increasing food production would be feasible with an intensification of production.

The projected intensification will carry increased environmental pressure that needs to be addressed through improved and more eco-friendly and climatesmart cultivation techniques.
This also necessitates that greater attention be accorded to the development of food crops of high productivity that can grow well on marginal lands and that can tolerate growth in unique habitats such as fresh water swamps and saline conditions.


Post-harvest Losses are high and food waste particularly table waste - is a growing problem across the region

Table Waste

Post-harvest Loss

Underlying Causes of Post-harvest Losses in Traditional Supply Chains

Lack of a market orientation Pest infestations and disease Poor organization and weak integration of supply chains Poor/inadequate infrastructure and market facilities Poor/inadequate bulk packaging Lack of dedicated transport systems Limited knowledge base of stakeholders Weak institutional support for post-harvest sytems


Climate Change Will Impact Agriculture and Water Resources

Extracted from Stern 2007


SEA Countries are Pursuing Biofuel Production

Indonesia and Malaysia lead in production and export of biodiesel from palm oil

Thailand produces ethanol and biodiesel

Philippines produces and uses biodiesel Viet Nam produces ethanol and biodiesel

Myanmar, Laos and Cambodia produce biodiesel

Source: Bhandhubanyong (2008)


Projected Growth in Bio-ethanol Production in ASEAN Countries

(million litres)
2008-2010 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0 Indonesia Malaysia Philippines 2020


Viet Nam

Source: Selected Indicators , FAO - RAP 2011


Feedstocks for Biofuel Production

Palm, coconut and jathropa and oil palm for biodiesel production Cassava, sugar cane, and maize for ethanol production.

Without appropriate policies, production of feedstock for biofuels will increasingly compete with food production and water use.


Recommended Measures to Mitigate Food Security Threats

Investments are required to support basic research into agricultural production and to upgrade technical capacities and the institutional and infrastructural support base to support post-harvest loss reduction. Investments are required to deal with the threat posed by climate change
Focus on technologies that reduce carbon emmissions and mitigate the environmental impact of agriculture


Recommended Measures to Mitigate the Food Security Threats

Innovative food security policies that support the integration of bio-energy crop production with food production are, critical to achieving food and energy security simultaneously.

Awareness must be raised at all level as to the impacts and implications of food losses and food waste on food security.


Thank you