The Head of CAPSA, Masakazu Ichimura, delivered his remarks on ‘Towards a Future without Poverty’ at the EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum in Jakarta, 30-31 October 2017. The event was jointly held by the EAT Foundation and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Indonesia, hosted around 700 participants from 60 countries. Policymakers, leaders, academia, private sector, NGOs, culinary expert, scientist, activists, and other stakeholders gathered to enact food as a cure for global challenges.
Asia and the Pacific is a house of 490 million people suffering from chronic hunger. The case of under-nutrition, food waste, obesity, diabetes, and other chronic diseases put a bigger threat to the region’s food systems.
Highlighting one of the EAT Forum sessions, under the theme of “Building Resilience: Can Asia-Pacific’s Food Future be Secured?”, the Head of CAPSA and other panellists from the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI), the Indonesia Business Council for Sustainable Development (IBCSD), CropLife Asia, HarvestPlus, and the World Food Programme (WFP) talked over the ways forward in ‘Building Resilience in Asia-Pacific’s Food Value Chain’. The discussion brought up three essential components of food value chain: availability, affordability, and nutrients. As the home to the growing economies and as the most populous region, Asia-Pacific needs a multi-sector intervention to touch all stages in the chain. The balance of policy implementation from upstream, midstream, to downstream of food value chain should be performed simultaneously. For instance, investment on degraded land, research and development in diversifying nutritious food for the poor as well as resilient agriculture, food and nutrition education for women and children, sanitary investment for food vendors, and redirection of private investment for rural sector.
Through CAPSA’s perspective, there is a necessity for each country policymakers in formulating and implementing innovative measures, with emphasis on win-win multiple benefits across the economic, social and environmental aspects in attaining the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. He highlighted some of the spearhead initiatives from Asia-Pacific countries, such as setting up inter-ministerial as well as multi-stakeholder coordination mechanisms for strengthening the integrated and holistic policy approach. Collaboration between Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Agriculture, and Ministry of Health, as demonstrated in organizing the EAT Asia-Pacific Food Forum, can be one of many models to synergize investment incentive for food issues along the value chain.