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Food loss and food waste top meeting with Malaysia's Minister of Agriculture

Concern voiced as young people shun agriculture

13 March 2014, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia – FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva met today with Malaysia’s Minister for Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Dato Sri Ismail Yaakob on the sidelines of the FAO 32nd Asia-Pacific Regional Conference. 

The two principals discussed wide-ranging food, agriculture, forestry and fisheries issues in Malaysia and in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries. “This year Malaysia chairs the ASEAN agriculture and forestry ministerial meetings,” the Minister explained.

“The meeting with FAO Director-General went well. We had good discussions on many areas of interest to both parties,” Yaacoub said.

He underlined that one particular area of mutual interest was saving food and reducing post-harvest food losses. “FAO has embarked on a Save Food Asia Pacific Campaign and we are thinking of extending the campaign to Malaysia and ASEAN as well, ” he explained.

Ways of helping young people get involved in farming and keeping young people in agriculture was also discussed. “This is important globally, but particularly for Malaysia, because 50 percent of our youth reject agriculture and farming,” he noted.

Also covered during the meeting was adding value to agriculture, forestry and fisheries products and the International Year of Family Farming. Yaacoub said that Malaysia already has a campaign underway that is similar to the International Year of Family Farming.

Citing the threat posed by food price spikes, he explained his country's experience:  “What we do in our case is ask family farmers to produce what they need with an excess to be sold, or to be shared.”