CropLife Asia Makes Case for Plant Science Solutions for ASEAN Farmers
ASEAN Crop Protection Regulatory Harmonization also promoted during Responsible Business Forum
Jakarta, 25 April 2016 – As the regional Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture commenced today in Jakarta, CropLife Asia Executive Director Dr. Siang Hee Tan made the case for the innovative technologies of plant science to support Indonesia’s smallholder farmers in growing more food with fewer resources. Dr. Tan participated with a panel reviewing means to improve the efficiency of agriculture and enhancing the sustainability of farming systems.
Statistics indicate that ASEAN’s agriculture sector contributes an average of 20% in each of the top eight agro-producing members’ GDP. However, the average labor force working within the industry stands at a staggering 46% average.
Meanwhile, the world’s population is projected to eclipse nine billion inhabitants by 2050 – as Asia alone will see an additional one billion more people calling the region home by that period. Just in ASEAN, an expected increase of 60 million more men, women and children living in the region is expected within the next decade.
With the population growing, so too is the demand for food. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, growers around the world will need to produce up to 70% more food to meet the expected needs of the population in 2050
“We’re increasingly asking farmers in Indonesia and ASEAN to do more and more, with less and less,” shared Dr. Tan during today’s Forum. “The 21st Century challenge of growing more food with fewer resources and impact on the environment is not an easy one. Factor in the realities of more pests, diseases and weather-related events to contend with – and it becomes that much more daunting.
“From farm to fork, the challenge calls for a shared solution among food and agriculture stakeholders that ensures success, sustainability and good stewardship. The innovative technologies of plant science are a key component of that solution. At CropLife Asia, we remain committed to working with our fellow food and agriculture stakeholders to ensure farmers have access to the modern tools and technology they need to do the job.”
During today’s session, Dr. Tan also took the opportunity to promote regulatory harmonization for crop protection products in ASEAN as an essential component to the future success of agricultural trade, robust economic growth, and food security within the region.
A Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) project titled “Assisting countries in Southeast Asia toward achieving pesticide regulatory harmonization” was carried out during the 2009-2011 timeframe (with results published in 2012), brought the participation of seven ASEAN countries, and yielded agreement on five regional guidelines on critical aspects of pesticide management and registration. These guidelines provided a path forward to ensuring pesticides data accepted in one ASEAN member state (AMS) could be considered with registration of the same product in another AMS without compromising human health and environmental safety standards.
Taking its cue from the FAO project, CropLife Asia is recommending a harmonized regulatory framework for crop protection products in ASEAN as a means to reduce complexity in trade; provide farmers with greater access to quality, advanced technologies; increase research and development investment; and build more shared regulatory capacity within the region.
The opening session of the Responsible Business Forum on Food & Agriculture began today (Monday, 25 April) at 9am and is scheduled to conclude tomorrow afternoon. The two-day Forum is being held at the Grand Hyatt in Jakarta, bringing together key stakeholders and representatives from multiple sectors of the food and agriculture industries.
About CropLife Asia
CropLife Asia is a non-profit society and the regional organization of CropLife International, the voice of the global plant science industry. We advocate a safe, secure food supply, and our vision is food security enabled by innovative agriculture. CropLife Asia supports the work of 15 member associations across the continent and is led by eight member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development. For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org.
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 Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook.