Agriculture is a major contributor to many economies in Asia. But years of under-investment in rural development and agricultural research have left farmers ill-equipped to deal with food security pressures. In addition, other factors such as climate change, the decline of available arable land and water scarcity have further undermined Asia’s productivity potential.
Most notably, agriculture modernization has been inhibited by the small size of farms and a lack of investment in the facilities and training necessary for developing more profitable businesses. The perspective among many framers is bleak with many young people who would have chosen farming as a career being pushed to seek white-collar work in towns and cities. As a result, the agrarian workforce has aged rapidly, with those aged over 65 accounting for close to half of the main agricultural workforce in some Asian nations.
Meanwhile, farmers face everyday challenges such as low crop yields, natural disasters and financial problems. In addition, cultural, political and environmental differences also impact local agricultural communities. Farmers, as stewards of the land and crops, must be equipped with the tools and technologies to grow safe food sustainably and productively. The plant science industry is at the forefront of research and development, farmer training and outreach initiatives that put farmers at the heart of policy making.
CropLife Asia’s tailored Stewardship solutions are helping farmers to grow more abundant supplies of healthy, affordable food while safeguarding natural resources.
CropLife Asia’s Stewardship Leadership Team focuses on four key areas:
- Integrated Pest Management (IPM);
- Good Agricultural Practices (GAP) including the Five Golden Rules and Responsible Use;
- Empty Container Management; and
- International Code of Conduct on the Distribution and Use of Pesticides.
The Stewardship Leadership Team shares knowledge about GAP including the Responsible Use of crop protection products, IPM, container management and secure storage; and supports government departments within agricultural ministries and CropLife Asia’s Member Associations to expand critical Stewardship education throughout farming communities.
Stewardship is a life cycle approach to product management. It is the ethical way to manage crop protection products from their discovery and development, to their use and final disposal or phase-out. The overall aim of the stewardship approach is to maximize the benefits, and minimize risk, from using crop protection products.