I am happy to present this second issue of FAO's regional publication devoted to the state of food and agriculture in Asia and the Pacific. This is a time of great challenges to food security in the region, but also a time of great opportunities for the region's food and agriculture sectors and both challenges and opportunities are highlighted in this publication.
The first part of the publication examines hunger and poverty in the region, changes in dietary patterns, agricultural commodity trends, and the outlook for the future, including the major challenges that need to be addressed. The second part provides a special focus on the new "gold rush": biofuels development in Asia and the Pacific. As biofuels are likely to have a major influence on agricultural commodity prices and rural incomes for some time to come, the status of biofuels development in the region is assessed. The main focus of the analysis is on the potential effects of the demand for biofuels on regional household food security.
The writing of The state of food and agriculture in Asia and the Pacific region 2008 was co-ordinated by Kinlay Dorjee, Economist. It benefited from the contributions and comments of the multidisciplinary staff of the FAO regional office in Bangkok as well as of headquarters, Rome. The support of Keith Wiebe, Chief, Comparative Agricultural Development Service, and his encouragement to link this regional publication to the global State of food and agriculture are gratefully acknowledged. The special feature on biofuels was contributed by David Dawe, Senior Economist, Agriculture Sector in Economic Development Service. His continued inputs to and interest in the region are greatly appreciated. The graphs depicting the subregional differences in intake of various types of food were prepared by Kristian Jakobsen, Economist, Food Security and Agricultural Projects Analysis Service.
Finally, I wish to thank all those involved in this publication and invite feedback from all readers.
Assistant Director-General and Regional Representative
FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific