Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific

Issues in the region

Agricultural growth in Asia-Pacific has stagnated in recent years, with a serious decline in agricultural investment, and depletion and degradation of natural resources in the face of continued population growth.

The benefits of the green revolution have now been fully realized and there are no revolutionary technologies on the horizon that can rapidly and sustainably reinvigorate agriculture.

Outward migration, especially of the young generation, has led to the “greying” and feminization of the sector; the coping mechanisms of poor households are few, given their limited assets and the fact that a deep recession occurred so soon after the food crisis.

Climate change will impact agriculture in many ways, particularly in areas vulnerable to natural disaster.

The opening of markets improved the mobility of people, goods and services and created employment opportunities for the labour-rich Asia-Pacific economies.  At the same time the growing links within the region and with the rest of the world ushered in risks of transboundary plant pests and animal diseases.

Likewise, the integration of markets also transmitted negative externalities across national boundaries with relative ease and notable speed, as observed in recent episodes such as the 1997 Asian economic crisis, the 2007–08 soaring food prices, the 2008-09 global financial crisis and a number of fallouts from food safety breaches.