FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
©FAO/Franco Mattioli

The vision of the FAO office in Bangkok is a food-secure Asia and the Pacific region.

Its mission is to help member countries halve the number of undernourished people in the region by raising agricultural productivity and alleviating poverty while protecting the region’s natural resources base.

FAO in Asia and the Pacific

Following the great advancements in agricultural outputs brought about by the ‘green revolution’, the 21st century is witnessing slower agricultural growth in the Asia-Pacific region.

A serious decline in agricultural investment is largely to blame, along with depletion and degradation of natural resources in the face of continued population growth. Climate change and extreme weather events will further impact agriculture in many ways, particularly in areas vulnerable to natural disasters.

The trend of migration away from rural areas, particularly with respect to younger people, has led to a "greying" and in some cases feminization of the agricultural sectors. The exit of labour from agriculture is an essential part of the structural transformation of the economy in the medium-term, but this ‘labour drain’ can also place burdens on poor households in the short run.

The opening of markets in recent decades has resulted in an increase in the cross-border mobility of goods and services. However these growing agricultural trade links within the region (and with the rest of the world) have been accompanied by increasing risks of transboundary plant pests and animal diseases, such as Fall Army Worm and African Swine Fever – which both emerged in Asia for the first time in 2018.

There are still more than 480 million people in the region who are undernourished, and the prevalence of stunting among young children is high in many countries. At the same time, obesity is rising in the region, and the Pacific Islands have the highest rates of obesity in the world. These conditions lead to multiple burdens of malnutrition, including underdevelopment of human capital and increasingly large burdens on public health systems.

In light of these challenges, FAO is helping to bring multiple stakeholders together to leverage new technologies and create new institutions that will help to create sustainable and inclusive growth in the region’s agricultural sectors.