Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation begins in Thailand

Bangladesh demands rapid transformation of agriculture, food systems

Published : 05 Oct 2022 09:11 PM

Bangladesh took centerstage during a high-level conference on ‘Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation’ in Bangkok, Thailand to highlight experiences of Bangladesh in moving forward on a vital agrifood systems transformation, one of the region and the world has committed to, in order to achieve the global Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

Rabindra Sri Barua, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Agriculture of the Government of Bangladesh along with other high government officials is attending the workshop from Bangladesh.

The Asia-Pacific Symposium on Agrifood Systems Transformation, convened by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), has brought together government ministers from across the region, private sector, academia, and other stakeholders to map out a massive acceleration to transformthe agrifood systems, or risk worsening malnutrition and further environmental degradationin the world’s hungriest and most populous region. 

Rising food prices, floods, drought, water scarcity, increasing climate-related disasters, the global pandemic and conflicts near and far,are driving food insecurity across the Asia-Pacific region. These challenges directly impact the most vulnerable people of this region, including smallholder farmers and others who depend on the land for their livelihoods. 

Climate change has worsened conditions for smallholders. Rainfall patterns, essential for agriculture in the monsoon region, have changed and so have the frequencies and timings of pest and disease outbreaks, thus lowering yields. The region already experiences 60 percent of global fatalities and 40 percent of economic losses due to multiple hazards and risks. 

Last year, caught in the grip of a global pandemic, world leaders pledged to transform their agrifood systems to make them more efficient, inclusive, resilient and sustainable. 

Speaking at the beginning of a three-day Asia-Pacific symposium, the world’s first since the UNFSS, which aims to fast-track agrifood systems transformation in this vast region, FAO’s Director-General, QU Dongyu, said the region’s transformation needs to focus on outcomes that result in better production, better nutrition, better environment, and a better life for all – ensuring no one is left behind.

According to one recent UN report, Asia and the Pacific is so off course, it would need until 2065 to achieve all 17 Sustainable Development Goals – a delay of 35 years. 

The reason for some of the more recent setbacks is clear. Droughts and floods, the highest food prices in decades, armed conflictsand the fallout and aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic have disrupted supply chains, lives and livelihoods.