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Asian Development Bank, U.N. Call On Asia-Pacific Countries To Increase Investments In Agriculture To Ensure Food Security

Countries in Asia and the Pacific should increase investment in agriculture by $120 billion annually through 2050 to address hunger and prevent major food price increases, U.N. and Asian Development Bank (ADB) officials said Wednesday, the Associated Press reports. According to the officials, the “onus for funding the investments would be on private sources and governments,” the news service writes (7/7). 

ADB and partner institutions highlighted the need for additional funding for agriculture to expand food production during the Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific, Xinhua reports (7/7).

Though food prices in the region have stabilized, they are still 85 percent higher than 2003 levels and are expected to increase further, said Haruhiko Kuroda, the president of ADB, according to the AP. “These statistics belie a crisis that will only get worse in the years to come unless immediate action is taken,” Kuroda said. “Add to this rapid population growth, climate change and water shortages, and the need for action is blindingly apparent.”

The number of undernourished people in the Asia-Pacific region reached 642 million in 2009, Jacques Diouf, director general of the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization, noted in a video speech. “The sheer magnitude of food insecurity is the result of the low priority that has been given to agriculture in economic development policies…,” he said (7/7).

“Raising agricultural productivity can be done by improving crop management, expanding the use of modern varieties, strengthening rural infrastructure and improving post-harvest technologies, Kanayo Nwanze, president of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) … said,” Xinhua writes (7/7).  

Meanwhile, the Manila Bulletin reports on a meeting on the sidelines of the conference aimed at urging the ADB and other financial institutions and governments to invest in small farms, where groups called for “sustainable, integrated, diversified, ecological and organic agriculture, aquaculture systems which are owned and managed by small-scale women and men farmers, fishers and indigenous peoples” (Wakefield, 7/7).