APEC economies address food security and environmental challenges

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In an effort to ensure safe, accessible and sustainable food supplies into the future amid changing global conditions, food and agriculture ministers from APEC economies have outlined a new innovation-based cooperation network.

Following the third APEC ministerial meeting on food security which was held in Beijing on Friday, ministers issued the Beijing Declaration on APEC Food Security which includes new measures on how to feed the regions 2.8 billion people and alleviate hunger.

“Despite the enormous progress made in agriculture by the Asia-Pacific region, there is still imbalance among economies and our food security still faces great challenges,” said Wang Yang, vice premier of China. “Population growth, climate change, environmental pollution and natural disasters are posing new difficulties to agriculture development.”

Ministers welcomed an action plan which is designed to enhance connectivity of APEC food standards and safety assurance by placing an emphasis on strengthening food safety management through international standards alignment, the development of risk-based requirements and establishment as well as the improvement of early warning, traceability and recall systems.

Commitments to personnel training on trans-boundary animal and plant diseases as well as the strengthening of information exchange and cooperation on safety of food imports and exports were also made.

“Our economies are utilizing a Policy Partnership on Food Security as an efficient tool for integrating with business to achieve food security,” noted Nikolai Fyodorov, agriculture minister of Russia. “Innovative development of agriculture as well as its infrastructure based on the wide investment calculation and trade development are key priorities.”

In relation to climate change, ministers agreed to pursue joint research of new eco-friendly technologies, planting patterns and disease and pest control methods. A new APEC action plan for reducing food loss and waste was also welcomed.

“There’s a whole set of questions about food in global value chains,” said Dr Alan Bollard, executive director of the APEC Secretariat. “We know that a lot of food is actually lost in the distribution process and the topics of research and development, science, regulation and environment are much more complex in the area of agriculture.”