FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

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World Food Day Observance | Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

FAO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific will convene its annual regional World Food Day observance, virtually this year, on Friday 15th October (in lieu of 16th October – a Saturday).

The 35th Session FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific emphasized the imperative to build back better through leveraging digitalization and other innovations in the region’s agrifood system. This entails looking at how each agrifood system actor innovates and influences others to do so. The COVID-19 pandemic has made agrifood system innovation even more critical, and nowhere more so than in the Asia-Pacific region. This is precisely the message FAO RAP wishes to highlight with the occasion of the celebration of the World Food Day 2021. This event is being held soon after the UN Food Systems Summit where global leaders will call for joint efforts to reshape and reimagine agri-food systems to achieve better production, nutrition, environment and lives, which is also the theme for World Food Day 2021. 

Innovations occur through out food systems: from production to consumption. The ongoing food e-commerce revolution taking place in the region is happening at the same time that mobile-based business models are emerging to provide advisory, marketing and financial services at scale to smallholder farmers, whereas a parallel revolution in Industry 4.0 technologies is taking agro-industries to new levels of efficiency. Advances in science and physical innovations are also reshaping the way in which food is grown, packaged and sold.

Digitalization, automation and other innovations offer great potential for improving the efficiency and sustainability of agrifood systems in Asia-Pacific, as exhibited in the recent SIDS Solutions Forum highlighted during 30 and 31 August. Food system innovations are also instrumental in achieving Sustainable Development Goals 1, 2 and 13 (No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Climate action). There are, however, several risks associated with digitalization and other innovations, from potential job losses to environmental degradation and data governance concerns. Moreover, different agrifood systems and actors within them innovate at varying speed and manner and would require, thus, tailored strategies to leave no one behind. 

The Asia-Pacific regional World Food Day event will showcase proven solutions for tapping the potential of innovations in agrifood systems, while making them more sustainable and inclusive, and reducing the digital divide. 

Proposed agenda

The event will take the form of a Webinar, headlined by a video statement from our Guest of Honour, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand, an FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador. Mr. Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific will deliver welcome remarks. A discussion among eminent panelists drawn from across the Asia-Pacific region on agrifood system innovations will leave the audience with substantive ideas about new and existing innovative agrifood systems  approaches to lead the region to a food secure 2030 and beyond. 

Potential panelists include: ITU (infrastructure gap), ICRISAT (incubating digital entrepreneurs), Asian Farmers’ Association for Sustainable Rural Development- AFA (smallholder farmers’ inclusion), representative of the Government of Nepal, and GrowAsia (sustainable agritech business models serving smallholder farmers) and MMI Bangladesh (Sara Bangla) to explain digital innovations adopted by producer organizations). 

 Programme: Friday 15 October 2021


Opening announcements and introductory video


Welcome remarks by Mr Jong-Jin Kim, Assistant Director-General and FAO Regional Representative for Asia and the Pacific.


Asia-Pacific World Food Day video statement by Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand and FAO Special Goodwill Ambassador


Panel discussion on inclusive agri-food system innovations moderated by Ms Atsuko Okuda, Regional Director, Asia and the Pacific, International Telecommunication Union (ITU)


  • Asian Farmers' Association for Sustainable Rural Development (AFA) - Ms Ma Estrella Penunia, Secretary-General
  • Grow Asia - Mr Paul Voutier, Senior Advisor, Innovation
  • International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) - Mr Ram Kiran Dhulipala, Theme Leader for Digital Agriculture and Youth
  • Madhya Rakudiya Farmers' Organization, Bangladesh - Ms Rita Bromo, President
  • National Innovation Center of Nepal (NIC) - Mr Mahabir Pun, Chairperson



Q and A


Closing remarks by Mr John Aylieff, Regional Director, World Food Programme  




Visit these pages for past World Food Day events: