Water Security | Food Security | Disaster Relief
NURTURING PARTNERSHIPS A process of cross-fertilisation to strengthen Asian food security
1000 days campaign
A grassroots approach
Partnerships and collaborations
Research and education
Business to business
Collaborations for providing food in crisis
Finding and maintaining balance
Directives to the future
11 Footnotes 12
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Overview The recent AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013 held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on 26-27 November 2013 provided a sound board for development panels, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and governments to collaborate on the issue of food security in the Asia Pacific region. This paper aims to explore the notions that were raised at the Summit and the question of directive to the future now posed on the developing agenda of food security. Encompassing a plethora of issues, content structure of the Summit was divided between the fields of nutrition and agriculture and will be a framework for this paper. As such, it is noted that this paper may unintentionally omit the body of other equally important items that require further inclusion, debate and action to the future. It is the intention of this paper not to provide the answers but to ignite further dialogue and create an effect that will foster continued engagement and development of key partnerships. Emma Mercer Author & Event Reporter AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013
Chris Hoffman, IOM
â€œWhile we look at food security holistically, we must understand that it starts with education. Helping communities understand that under and malnutrition are directly equated to livelihood enhancement is the beginning of the process and should not be a target, but the baseline.â€?
Where we are now In recent decades the Asia Pacific region has achieved remarkable results in economic growth and in reducing poverty and hunger but it has come at a cost to the environment and resulted in an unsustainable use of natural resources. Although Asia’s undernourishment rate has fallen from 34 per cent and is anticipated to be at 16 per cent in 20151, with almost one in seven people still suffering chronic hunger, the region is home to almost two-thirds of the world’s chronically hungry population2. Given food production efforts require a rapid increase by 60 per cent to meet the projected global population of more than 9 billion in 20502 and teamed with the adverse effects of climate change impacting the availability of arable land, the culmination of issues heightens concerns of food security in the region and requires forward thinking and action now for a secure future later.
In a nutshell: Nutrition The status of nutrition is a widespread issue across the Asia Pacific region. A range of contributing factors can be applied to malnutrition problems resulting in an often systematic chain of circumstance that includes: poor diets low in quantity, quality and variety lead to hunger and malnutrition; high food prices exacerbate food insecurity and malnutrition; inequitable distribution of benefit of economic growth; widening income disparity and inequality; reduced development of local food resources, less research investment into non-rice-based foods; and neglect of traditional food system and loss of traditional knowledge on growing, harvesting, preparing/processing and consuming3. In this regard, micronutrient deficiencies, food fortification and education and nutrition intervention programmes are key focus areas.
Micronutrient deficiencies Minerals and vitamins also known as micronutrients are essential to the development, growth and function of the body in required amounts. Without them, risk of micronutrient deficiencies increases. Alarmingly 30 per cent of the global population suffers from one or more of these deficiencies4. A less visible form of malnutrition, the World Food Program highlights it is no less deadly5. The first day of the AIDF Food Security Summit attracted significant interest from those involved in nutrition initiatives and dedicated to improving nutrition within the region, encompassing the sub-categories of child nutrition, food fortification and collaboration. Deputy Regional Director for Asia of the Micronutrient Initiative (MI), Dr. Deepika Chaudhery said in terms of both her professional and organisational background, the greatest issue is dealing with poor health statuses of infant and young children; and pregnant and lactating women groups6. Alarmingly we know that one in four
Deepika Nayar Chaudhery, Mirconutrient Initiative
“Poor health outcomes can be attributed to poor practices and a lack of the essential micronutrients which are not attainable through regular diets.”
children under the age of five are stunted affecting their lifetime physical and mental development3. She outlined poor health outcomes can be attributed to poor practices and a lack of the essential micronutrients which are not attainable through regular diets6. This could be factored down to basic education and more fundamental issues around lack of and/or inadequate health facilities that are not conducive for optimal growth of children or women in the aforementioned categories6. The objective of Chaudhery’s organisational body, MI, is to work exclusively to eliminate vitamin and mineral deficiencies in the world’s most vulnerable populations and was one of many organisations sharing this common objective on micronutrient deficiencies. Given each year 1.1 million children under five die due to Vitamin A and zinc deficiencies; 18 million babies are born mentally impaired because of maternal iodine deficiency; 350,000 children become blind due to vitamin A deficiency; and 1.6 billion people suffer reduced productive capacity due to anaemia7, it is not hard to understand why significant dialogue was generated by associated stakeholders with ideas on resolving outcomes. Underlying much of the discussion was the importance of the first 1000 days campaign, now in full effect and a framework featured in most project models.
1000 days campaign The 1000 days campaign captures the period from conception through to two years of age, a crucial timeline in the development of a child and their projected future health outcomes, impacted by nutritional and environmental influences. In seeking to improve the nutritional health outcomes during this window, the likelihood of poverty can be reduced and the future economic prosperity of a country increased8. Solutions proven to make a difference are readily available, affordable and cost-effective. They include vehicles of action to ensure mothers and young
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children get the necessary vitamins and minerals they require for positive health and development outcomes; promotion and encouragement of good nutritional practices such as breastfeeding and appropriate healthy foods for infants and; treating malnourished children with special therapeutic foods9.
Food fortification A recommended practice to deliver the required micronutrients to at risk populations is through the food production method of fortification, wherein micronutrients are purposefully included to increase the nutritional quality of a food product. Methods include biofortification, the process of breeding crops to increase their nutritional value which can be achieved through selective breeding or genetic modification; commercial and industrial fortification of staple foods such as flour, rice and oils; and home fortification wherein the individual alters the nutritional value of their food by adding a powder or other supplementary product. As a global leader in rice consumption, the fortification of rice is both vital and extremely important in the Asia Pacific region and is a method which has been used around the world for more than 40 years7. Numerous studies can attest to the positive impacts of rice fortification in improving the health outcomes of populations. Factors which can determine this effectiveness are relative to policies and legislation regulations; production and supply of the fortified rice; the development of delivery systems for the fortified rice; the development and implementation of external and internal food quality control systems; and the development and implementation of strategies for information, education and communication for behaviour change among consumers10. Culturally sensitive, there are technical challenges in the mass fortification of rice to produce the specific rice characteristics culturally desired while ensuring the food product can withstand preparation and cooking processes that can strip away its nutritional value10. Similar to counterpart commodity rice, flour fortification follows similar processes in an effort to improve the nutritional value and alter the declining health outcomes of certain populations. While flour fortification is growing in popularity at large scale roller mills, Geoffry Smith, Chairman of Essential Micronutrients Foundation mentioned at the Summit the need for small mill flour fortification7. Already answering the call, Project Healthy Children has developed an innovative first with its fully automated nutrient dosifier ‘Sanku’ being put to effect with small scale rural production mills – a prototype on display at the Summit. Lighter than a sack of flour and installed and running within minutes, the small unit has the capacity to fortify over one metric tonne of flour per hour11. Not distancing itself from traditional methods, the unit is easily attached to existing equipment without modification. It is providing innovation where it is needed but in a format that is likely to be adopted and utilised by smallholder farmers which is arguably an issue in current approaches. Home fortification by powder is a favoured method to deliver micronutrients that include iron, vitamin A and zinc. Adopted into program models by governments and NGOs, home fortification is a process capable of reaching some of
the most vulnerable demographics - children and women. It is often a simple process of adding a small sachet ingredient to a semi-solid food. Project models have featured its application in regional communities through education and distribution planning as well as in school feeding programs, educating children on the importance of a healthy diet and providing them with the micronutrients their diets lack. There is concern about the use of home fortification as a viable method with some suggesting limited knowledge about documentation of use on site and the credibility that the method is of low cost and affordable. Some ask is home fortification carried out correctly and does it have a positive impact? Programs in fortification have taught us a few key lessons according to the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN). During his presentation at the Summit, current Manager of Salt Programs at GAIN, Rizwan Yusufali highlighted fortification is not as costly as some will lead us to believe12. In fact, the cost increment in fortification programs is very small and dwarfed by inflation, commodity price increases, fuel, government duties and levies12. He proclaimed in response to the challenge that Vitamin A is unstable and there are losses preventing effective delivery, losses which occur during transport and cooking are manageable and overages normally added during fortification and premix preparation are sufficient to ensure adequate intake12. On the argument that fortification can be a long term and sustainable solution, he stated it was all of the above and has been proven effective in the longer term to prevent micronutrient deficiencies, supported by a century of evidence in some developed countries12. Food fortification was discussed at the Summit as one approach to help combat micronutrient deficiencies and of
Rizwan Yusufali, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition
“Fortification is not as costly as some will lead us to believe. In fact, the cost increment in fortification programs is very small and dwarfed by inflation, commodity price increases, fuel, government duties and levies.” 5
relevance, support for the approach towards oil fortification recently gained political momentum in Bangladesh. Days before the Summit, the Bangladesh Parliament passed the ‘Fortification in Edible Oil with Vitamin A Bill, 2013’ which has mandated fortifying edible oil with Vitamin A and prohibiting the import of unfortified edible oil13. The bill requires the use of a fortification logo on bottles and containers, fines applicable for non-compliancy and imprisonment for repetitive violation13. Developing the logo in partnership with UNICEF, the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has aided Bangladesh to become the first country in South Asia to introduce mandatory requirements for the fortification of refined edible oil with Vitamin A13. Once in effect, the law is anticipated to benefit the entire populace and in particular child minorities.
In a nutshell: Agriculture Fundamentally the role of farming and agriculture in many senses in recognised within the framework of the fortification debate for nutrition. However, the role played by smallholder farmers in food security on a grassroots level is crucial to the overall outcomes and objectives and extends much more broadly in the holistic agenda. The preponderance of smallholder farmers is reinforced by figures indicating there are 350 million in the Asian region14. Figures this significant should reaffirm the cause to ensure education, collaboration and innovation are thoroughly endorsed on this level.
A grassroots approach Head of Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA), UN ESCAP, Dr. Katinka Weinberger outlined a number of expectations placed upon these farmers at the recent Summit. These include and are not limited to increased agricultural production on existing land; more resilient agricultural production preservation of the environment through lower resource intensity and improved stewardship of natural resources; making rural areas an attractive place to live as well as creating new economic opportunity; reduce food loss and waste and; support a transition to healthier diets15. While we expect these outcomes from farmers, they are faced with three significant limitations to success: lack of suitable technology, low investment and lack of effective knowledge transfer15. National Disaster Coordinator at World Vision Foundation of Thailand and based in Bangkok, Jeff Sartwell, raised the importance of working on a community level to address the barriers experienced on a grassroots platform. This might include a desire to revert to traditional farming methods over those of greater cost or framed by new innovative technology. Delivering its own project models in Thailand, the organisation works in close proximity to rural farmers and the broader farming community. Sartwell identified that studies of the Khorat Plateau in Thailand’s north-east show definite signs of climate change, the effects are detectable and the effects upon farmers and farming communities are clear and that farmers very clearly report that they are seeing
an effect lower yields and effect drought16. Commending the Summit for exploring this growing issue, Sartwell suggested the collaboration of the commercial sector to provide tools of innovation to address the difficulties farmers encounter working the land16. With a number of proposals in a stage of infancy, there is merit to the future on where collaboration and innovation should fuse. World Vision operates a project model that endeavours to teach an alternative farming methodology on how to plant rice with use of a faster growing variant16. He believes it is about “sensitising farmers or encouraging them to change from the traditional farming methodologies to this new farming methodology”16. With room to strengthen collaborative engagement, there is a basis to link the issues of climate change and sustainable agriculture with solutions towards a positive future outlook. Investigating the notion and impacts of climate change in the Asia region, BBC Media Action has carried out extensive formative research17. Presenting the results at the Summit, Richard Lace said the research involved seven countries18, engaging through national platforms as well as community assessments with the general public; in-depth consultation with media, climate change experts and positions of authority; proceeded by survey and community assessments with those believed to be the most vulnerable to climate change17. Highlighting the response of action, Lace provides a snapshot of ‘5 people in Asia’. What this snapshot demonstrates is a cross section of agendas. There are those living within the city limits that are either willing or unwilling to act on climate change, the impact upon their health or ability to earn money inconsequential17. In comparison, there are those feeling the impact by either surviving, struggling or adapting. Significantly it is reinforced that those most affected who are surviving, struggling or adapting are farmers as this paper earlier identified17.
Hiroyuki Konuma, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
“Agriculture has a key role to play in food security and hunger, and further, as pointed out by a recent FAO Flagship report, most of the investment in agriculture comes from the private sector.”
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Vinod Thomas, Asian Development Bank
“The effects of climate change on agricultural productivity are already being felt and need to be addressed immediately. If mitigation cannot be achieved, attention needs to revert to agricultural research and adaptation to ensure future productivity gains.”
At the crux of BBC Media Action’s findings is an evident interference of communication by means of education about climate change and its effects and how we can adapt to the changes upon environment, industry and livelihood. In response, BCC Media have compiled a series of episodes, encapsulating a different country in each and demonstrating through educational viewing how to become proactive and adapt, no longer struggling or simply surviving17. This study shows the importance of communication and education on a grassroots platform and is an area which will be explored in greater detail later in this paper. As concerns mount under the pressure to solve the dilemma of food insecurity with growing populations and startling future projections, there is much push towards the debate to find methods of increasing agricultural production, enabling greater yields. There are positive cases for biotechnology, hybrid rice and genetic modification in the overall objectives of agricultural production. Representing sustainable agriculture company Monsanto, Dr. Harvey Glick raised some key points regarding the debate at the recent Summit. Through methods of breeding and biotechnology there have been yield improvements with increased efficiency of resource utilisation, supporting the case for inclusion in sustainable production systems19. From this point Glick noted that modern breeding/biotechnology adoption in Asia lags behind the rest of the world, yield targets failing to be met with requirements in both innovation of technology and development and strengthening of policy19. Employing farming methods to increase economical productivity, there is merit in suggestions to utilise technology to speed the timeline of yields, the question needs to be raised where balance can be found to substantiate this feat while maintaining the sustainability of arable land. Where can we find long term balance and how is it determined? On the surface this is not an easy feat considering the adverse effects climate change is unleashing upon arable land and coupled with population growth by the year 2050 requiring an increase of food production by 60% holistically and 77% in developing countries to feed a projected 9.2 billion global population2. Determining the basis for balance is not easily approached. The questions that arise from this issue highlight how essential collaboration and networking is. For example, those producing and using chemical fertiliser and pesticide products should consider the impact their product may have upon soil and water in the region. What impact into the future could this cause?
If collaborations can be developed to combine innovative agricultural technology in a manner to suit the farming methods and requirements of local farmers, while keeping in theme with long-term sustainability, this could address some large components of broader issues. There are successful case models to consider and concepts can build on basic measures whilst thinking outside the square as earlier examples have shown. It is imperative to remember the financial situation of farmers in developing regions and find ways to provide up to date innovation through avenues that are cost realistic.
Partnerships and collaborations Partnerships and collaborations are crucial if we are to advance towards unified assistance and involvement to successfully address food security concerns in the region. This can include research and education, public-private partnerships and business to business relationships.
Research and education Within this realm is the development of education and extending knowledge base and sharing. It is essential to equip farmers, populations and importantly children of the new generation with the tools to the future, that being in education and wealth of knowledge. Pressing the importance of an educational foundation, Emergency and Post Crisis Specialist, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Chris Hoffman professes, “while we look at food security holistically, we must understand that it starts with education. Helping communities understand that under and malnutrition are directly equated to livelihood enhancement is the beginning of the process and should not be a target, but the baseline”20. As identified in the previous section on agriculture, education on a grassroots level can be fundamental to improving outcomes achieved on all scales. Irrespective of the field, education is a fundamental tool that can shape the outcomes of individuals, nations and our world. At the Summit Head of Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA), UN ESCAP, Dr. Katinka Weinberger fore grounded the ability to strengthen research through collaboration of extension linkages. This can concern coordinating committees and meetings, communication units or liaison departments, staff exchanges
and cooperation between universities’ research programmes and extension organisations15. Similarity, Director of Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) at International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Bas Bouman stressed the importance of industry sharing between public and private sectors. He noted public sector bodies such as IRRI provide a comparative advantage in upstream research staff, genetic diversity, multi-location and institutional connections21. This is an example of one way Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) can be beneficial.
Public-private partnerships It is widespread unanimous opinion and as this paper has outlined, public-private partnerships play a significant role in the potential to address concern on the stability of food security in the region. Representing the Ministry of Cambodia at the Summit, Srun Darith suggested future success is dependent not only upon strengthening collaborations among stakeholders, development panel and civil society22. Private-public partnership is also the key and we cannot exclude private sectors in these approaches22. Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative, FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroyuki Konuma notes the importance of strengthening public-private partnerships
Srun Darith, Ministry of Cambodia
“Future success is dependent not only upon strengthening collaborations among stakeholders, development panel and civil society. Privatepublic partnership is also the key and we cannot exclude private sectors in these approaches.”
for sustainable food production. He states, “Agriculture has a key role to play in food security and hunger, and further, as pointed out by a recent FAO Flagship report, most of the investment in agriculture comes from the private sector”23. PPPs are crucial across the field, not just within the discourse embodying agriculture. Whether it is financing innovation in nutrition or agriculture or supporting policies in governance to propel a food secure future, PPPs are the special ingredient required to perfect prosperity of the food security agenda into the future. Agronomy and Marketing Manager at Yara Thailand, Miles Harriman said the Summit was very useful to meet new people and discuss opportunities for public-private partnerships24. A challenge in his role, Harriman said the objective is to funnel knowledge to small farmers. Collaborating with NGOs who were present, Harriman said it was about identifying and finding new and novel ways to reach this audience as farmers are the vehicle for growing the food supply24. Looking outside the square, Harriman said he learnt a lot about the fortification of food which is not within the scope of work undertaken by Yara24. Although Yara is at the beginning of a process that ends at fortification, he said he is now looking beyond their scope and will explore the potential to collaborate with companies in this field to broader the possibilities24. There are continuous opportunities to extend professional collaborations and it is an area further emphasis could be placed upon whether it is linking nutrition and agriculture or redefining the involvement of stakeholders from one end of a speciality subject to the other, and as well as those from different components of the food supply chain. Global science based company DSM is active within the discourses of health nutrition and materials and is a sound example, striking PPPs across a number of projects. Three core projects are ‘Indofood’ First 1000 Days; Asian Football Confederation (AFC) nutrition campaign headed by Word Vision International (WVI); and a partnership with the World Food Programme (WFP) spanning a number of initiatives25. Co-developed with Indofood, the ‘Indofood’ First 1000 Days project sought to deliver an affordable nutritious product for the first 1000 days population – infant children, pregnant and lactating women groups25. Seeking to improve broader nutrition concerns, DSM has worked in partnership with the WFP since 2007 achieving a number of milestones. Specifically, this collaborative partnership has resulted in the creation or enhancement of nine food products, new or improved fortified food has reached 15 million beneficiaries and Project Laser Beam has provided fortified meals through school feeding programs in Bangladesh and Indonesia specifically25. Their most widespread partnership is as a core partner of the decade long AFC nutrition campaign headed by World Vision. The tagline “One goal, nutrition for every child”, the campaign uses popular sport as the vehicle of awareness to infiltrate the 47 countries across the Asian region which the Confederation represents25.
Business to business Managing Director of Managed Growth Australia, Tim Bennett believes a focus on the collaboration of business to business will provide the foundations to a fruitful future but it is
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contingent upon the role of politics and the potential barriers bureaucracy can create to achieve effective collaboration26. Bennett said, “Politics often, on a national basis, prevents interaction of businesses across national boundaries and we need to step past that somehow”26. In one on one discussion, a number of delegates agreed that support from government is crucial to making progress and advocating real change with reasonable indication that more government involvement at collaborative networking events would be fruitful.
Collaborations for food in crisis Approaches to food security vary in emergency and nonemergency situations with different approaches, programmes and actors involved. Although the Summit and this paper focuses primarily on the issue of general food security concerns, while reflecting on the impact climate change has upon arable land and other natural resources, it in turn directly effects the conditions in which we live and increasingly, the emergency situations we see as a result of climatic events across the globe. Reviewing a broader global model, there is much the Asia Pacific region could gain in future planning. Across Africa it is understood there is an underlying focus on the agenda of education and awareness, with the central aim to reach a target population, in crisis food security programmes27. Once this is achieved, it often becomes a means to an end. The risk however is while education has been implemented, support during the transition to adoption can result in an absent gap27. However, Sartwell suggests that in times of natural disasters (which is his discipline of expertise), it is questionable whether there is true food insecurity, events are of a short lived natured, response often reactive16. The setting of the Thailand 2011 flood events, Sartwell stated there was some status of food insecurity, people were moved to relief camps, evacuation centres wherein they were provided with food until such a time as they were able to return back to their homes16. Retrospectively, there was an ample supply of food in the country to be distributed to those impacted for what was arguably a short period of time16. The question that should then be asked, is as such events occur with increased frequency, what effect of stress does this place on holistic food security concerns? It can result in food waste and limit production in impacted areas, while small-scale, arguably still impacting the bigger picture. This is perhaps an area for further research and collaboration to determine if considerations should be made in this regard now than to cause concern further into the future.
Finding and maintaining balance Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative of FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Hiroyuki Konuma highlighted at the Summit that there is a long list of challenges and uncertainties to consider. Such barriers include and are not limited to population increase and urbanisation, changing consumption patterns and rapid increase of middle class population. Environmentally there is the challenge of
Bas Bouman, IRRI
“Public sector bodies such as IRRI provide a comparative advantage in upstream research staff, genetic diversity, multi-location and institutional connections.”
stagnation of expansion of arable lands; increasing scarcity of water resources; soil and environment degradation; decline of productivity growth affected by lack of investment in agriculture; food losses and food waste; bio-energy development and its competition on the use of land and water with food production; and climate change, natural disasters3. In response to these challenges, Konuma suggests it is necessary to promote agriculture research and new technologies tailored to smallholders and include traditional food production practices while ensuring local availability and access of the right mix of foods (dietary diversity) in all seasons as well as assessing other local potential staple foods3. Through means of education he stresses the promotion of local and traditional foods that are more nutritious, less expensive and can increase income; provide nutrition education, consumer’s awareness on local and traditional foods and its preparation; and promote knowledge networks for the dissemination of information on local and traditional foods. On a grassroots community front he proposes understanding food and dietary patterns of local peoples as sound context for improving nutrition; diversify production of vegetable and fruits with micronutrient rich local varieties; and increasing the proportion of locally grown, nutritious and less energy dense traditional foods. Reflecting on smallholder farming, he suggested improving the livelihoods of local people by supporting local and traditional food production and consumption; selection of local crops based on nutritional content in addition to yield and market value; promoting small-scale food processing/preservation techniques; postharvest improvement to preserve nutritional value of the local and traditional crops in addition to quantity; and developing small-scale agro-enterprises and linking small holder farmers to the markets for income6. He further stresses the need of inclusive and pro-poor economic growth by targeting the poor and hungry; eradicating multi-dimensional poverty and improving the well-being of people through sustainable agriculture development3.
Encouraging partnerships and collaborations, Konuma pushed promoting multi-sectoral and multi-stakeholder engagement; strengthening public and private sector partnership; investment in agricultural public goods, especially basic research and production, communications and infrastructure are critical; and importantly the necessity to promote awareness, building a sense of solidarity among all citizens in a cohesive effort to help one another and work constructively together6.
Directives to the future While the Summit has been praised a success at driving collaborative partnerships, the true success will be evident when actions begin in motion. Chaudhery drives the point that “the platform of information sharing does not really require collaboration, it requires interaction”6 and Bennett follows through in support professing while there was a strong base of individual networks uniting on a shared cause, it is irrelevant without the cross-fertilisation of those networks to substantiate a result, “the elephant in the room seems to be that everyone is talking but there is not a lot of action”26. What is required within the Asia Pacific region is for key parties to join the agenda and drive action to the future on the content being brought forward by existing collaborative partnerships, current effective models and strong government policy frameworks. There are however steps we can take as individuals and collectives of organisations. Konuma suggests establishing public-private sector partnerships for sustainable food production; investment into the agriculture industry; seeking sustainable consumption patterns that reduce post harvest loss and food waste and lead to healthier diets; and targeted support to vulnerable populations through social protection23. While Director of Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), Dr. Bas Bouman notes although no single organisation can provide food
“The elephant in the room seems to be that everyone is talking but there is not a lot of action.” Tim Bennett
security‘at scale’, the best actions can result from a collaboration of ‘all players’ – “exploit the strengths of your particular ‘niche’ in the sector and find partners that have complimentary strengths”28. Looking at a more individual focus, Emergency and Post Crisis Specialist at International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Chris Hoffman highlights three key agendas being to promote understanding, encourage implementation and strengthen farm to market accessibility20. Providing a comprehensive capture of all suggestions with a stronger focus on policy frameworks, Founder and Chief Executive Officer at UNiDON, Radwan Chowdhury says individuals and organisations alike can scale up and replicate food security investments in Asia and the Pacific; promote and support country-driven food security strategies; promote greater collaboration and partnership among governments, the private sector, international development agencies and civil society organisations; and share innovations and good practices for rapid replication and expansion29. An important factor to bear in mind, Director General at the Asian Development Bank, Vinod Thomas stresses the need to address climate change and its far-reaching effects. He concludes, the effects on agricultural productivity are already being felt and need to be addressed immediately. If mitigation cannot be achieved, attention needs to revert to agricultural research and adaptation to ensure future productivity gains14. On the frontline of micronutrient deficiencies, Commercial Director for Asia Pacific Region at Glanbia, Bruno Kistner recognises the need to invest in quality when it comes to nutritional products. Kistner states, “A credible supplier will always invest in the performance of his product as a key selling point. If money is spent with the goal to deliver a desired amount of vitamin A then the supplier who can guarantee that the investment is having the desired outcome should be rewarded. So the return on investment of providing an essential nutrient must be guaranteed through good quality products. This good quality product requires investment in high tech production processes and also triggers higher costs of course. This should be recognised in the market sufficiently”30. As this small collation of recommendations identifies, there is significant dialogue across the wide berth of issues and subject matter that surrounds food security concerns. It is positive to ignite discussions and educate each other on the areas we could improve, but more importantly, it is essential we begin to collaborate more across businesses, governments, policy makers, private sector and NGOs, as well as everywhere in-between, to advocate the way for real action and better results.
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Footnotes 1. FAO (2012) Global, Regional and Subregional trends in under nourishment and malnutrition. Rome, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations 2. Konuma, Hiroyuki (2013, May) Speech presented at 2nd Asia Pacific Water Summit, Thailand, Chiang Mai 3. Konuma, Hiroyuki (2013, November) ‘Keynote Address’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
15. Weinberger, Katinka (2013, November) ‘Capacity building and technology transfer for Smallholder Farmers’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok 16. Sartwell, Jeff (2013, November) Interview at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok 17. Lace, Richard (2013, November) ‘BBC Media Action: Climate Asia’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok 18. Bangladesh, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Vietnam
4. FAO ‘The Spectrum of Malnutrition online Factsheet’ accessed 3 January 2014, available at <www.fao.org/worldfoodsummit/english/ fsheets/malnutrition.pdf>
19. Glick, Harvey (2013, November) ‘Food Security: Helping farmers increase productivity and sustainability’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
5. World Food Programme ‘Types of Malnutriton’ accessed 3 January 2014, available at <www.wfp.org/hunger/malnutrition/types>
20. Hoffman, Chris (2013, November) pre Summit interview conducted by email
6. Chaudhery, Deepika (2013, November) Interview at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
21. Bouman, Bas (2013, November) ‘Key messages Hybrid Rice’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
7. Smith, Geoffry (2013, November) ‘Fortification Essentials and Latest News on Rice Fortification’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
22. Darith, Srun (2013, November) Interview at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
8. 1,000 Days ‘Why 1,000 Days’ accessed 3 January 2014, available at <www.thousanddays.org/about>
23. Konuma, Hiroyuki (November 2013) pre Summit interview conducted by email
9. Kistner, Bruno (2013, November) ‘AIDF Seminar on Food Security’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
24. Harriman, Miles (2013, November) Interview at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
10. Ashong, J, Muthayya, S, De-Regil, LM, Laillou, A, Guyondet, C, Moench-Pfanner, R, Burford, BJ, Pena-Rosas, JP 2012. ‘Fortification of rice with vitamins and minerals for addressing micronutrient malnutrition (Protocol)’. The Cochrane Library,Issue 6, June 2012, accessed 3 January 2014 <onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD009902/pdf>
25. Roh-Schmidt, Haeri (2013, November) ‘DSM Nutrition Solutions: Innovations in Nutrition Improvement’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
11. Sanku Fortification Introduction 2013, video, Sanku Fortification, 21 November, viewed 12 December 2013, <www.youtube.com/channel/ UCyeTYmVzRdq4UFrP-Hiu-ew> 12. Yusufali, Rizwan (2013, November) ‘Oil Fortification’ Presentation at AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok
26. Bennett, Tim (2013, November) Interview at AIDF Food Security Summit; Asia 2013, United Nations Conference Centre, Thailand, Bangkok 27. Project Healthy Children (2013, December) research interview conducted by phone 28. Bouman, Bas (2013, November) pre Summit interview conducted by email
13. GAIN 2013, Fortification in Edible Oil with Vitamin A Bill, 2013, media release, 20 November <www.gainhealth.org/press-releases/ fortification-edible-oil-vitamin-bill-2013>
29. Chowdhury, Radwan (2013, November) pre Summit interview conducted by email
14. Thomas. Vinod (2013, November) pre Summit interview conducted by email
30. Kistner, Bruno (2013, December) post Summit interview conducted by email
Acknowledgements Collaboration is crucial to address the plethora of issues across agriculture and nutrition cases in the food security agenda. All action is driven by an initial ripple, small and delicate in breaching the surface. It then grows into larger and larger ripples, creating greater widespread effect. To those who have contributed their thoughts, knowledge and experiences, we hope this transfer of information creates a ripple effect of greater collaboration and participation within the Asia Pacific region. A special thanks to those whose Summit presentations, interviews and broader knowledge has been utilised as a supportive framework in the construction of this discussion paper:
Organisations: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) World Food Programme (WFP) Project Healthy Children Sanku The Cochrane Collections 1000 Days UN ESCAP
Individuals: Tim Bennett Managing Director Managed Growth Australia Dr. Bas Bouman Director Global Rice Science Partnership (GRiSP) International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) Dr. Deepika Chaudhery Deputy Regional Director Asia Micronutrient Initiative Radwan Chowdhury Founder and Chief Executive Officer UDiON Srun Darith Advisor to the Food Ministries and Chief of Cabinet of Ministers Ministry of Environment, Cambodia Dr. Harvey Glick Asian Regional Director Regulatory Policy and Scientific Affairs Monsanto Miles Harriman Chief Agronomist Yara Chris Hoffman Emergency and Post-Crisis Specialist International Organisation for Migration (IOM)
Bruno Kistner Commercial Director Asia Glanbia Nutritionals Hiroyuki Konuma Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Richard Lace Head of Project Climate Asia BBC Media Action Laura Rowe Chief Operating Officer Project Healthy Children Haeri Roh-Schmidt Head of Science and Innovation, Asia Pacific (APAC) DSM Jeff Sartwell National Disaster Management Coordinator Thailand World Vision Geoffry Smith Chairman Essential Micronutrients Foundation Vinod Thomas Director General Asian Development Bank Dr. Katinka Weinberger Head of Centre for Alleviation of Poverty through Sustainable Agriculture (CAPSA) UN ESCAP Rizwan Yusufali Manager Salt Programs Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) We thank all our partners, speakers and delegates for their contributions in making the AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013 a success and look to continue these prospective partnerships into the future, driving real action in the Asia Pacific region.
AID AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT FORUM
Published on Jan 30, 2014
The recent AIDF Food Security Summit: Asia 2013 held at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok on 26-27 November 2013 provided a so...