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Food security a growing concern in Apec

/ 12:55 AM October 12, 2015

ILOILO CITY—Recognizing the growing concern of food security in the region, member-economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) are pushing for the greater role of the private sector to enhance competitiveness and promote sustainability.

Delegates from Apec member-economies also approved certain policy declarations during the recent two-day meeting on Apec Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) at the Iloilo Convention Center.

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The policy declarations will be recommended to Apec leaders for adoption during their meeting in Manila in November.

Undersecretary Asis Perez, PPFS presiding chair, said the policy declarations were focused on a food security road map to 2020, sustainable development of agriculture and the fishery sectors, facilitation of investment and infrastructure development, and enhancing trade and market.

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Perez said Apec member-economies were convinced that climate change was a threat to food security especially in the Asia-Pacific region.

Food security in the region is also a growing concern due to rapid population growth, with the population expected to reach 10 billion in 2050, according to Anthony Nowell, PPFS vice chair and representative of the Apec Business Advisory Council.

Aside from increasing production, food security requires the engagement of the private sector because the implementation of government policies would need private investments, Nowell said.

He said that while there was a common aim in providing “adequate supply of safe and nutritious food,” there is still a need to help farmers and fisherfolk have access to and participate in the market.

There is also a need to encourage commitment or to implement internationally accepted standards on food standards, he added.

Earlier, Environment Secretary Ramon Paje called for cooperation to narrow the gap in economic development while sustaining economic growth with equity.

Speaking at the opening session of the two-day Apec High Level Policy Dialogue on Food Security and Blue Economy, Paje stressed the need to address the “wide economic gap” among member economies.

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He said that effectively managing the marine resources in the region was vital in achieving food security, citing that two-thirds of the world’s capture fishery production and 80 percent of aquaculture production come from the Asia-Pacific.

Paje also cited the need to improve the biodiversity of coastal and marine ecosystems as an important way of sustaining and even improving the productivity of oceans.

Doris Magsaysay-Ho, Abac chair, said there was also a need to address “bigger and complex issues” on food security.

“Growing consolidation of ownership of food value chains is leading to intense competition between global and regional supply chains threatening the viability of small and medium enterprises. This also means too much power in the hands of a few player economies,” she said in a speech during the opening session.

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TAGS: APEC, apec 2015, Apec2015, Business, convention, economy, Food Security, food standard, Summit
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