Policy Support and Governance Gateway

Issue paper

Dynamic development, shifting demographics and changing diets. The story of the rapidly evolving food system in Asia and the Pacific and why it is constantly on the move

Asia and the Pacific is experiencing major demographic shifts and urbanizing rapidly. E-agriculture technologies (remote sensing, drones, sensors) are emerging, with potentially profound implications for the entire food system and management of the natural resource base. Structural transformation of the economy has also changed the nature of the food security problem. Earlier, many governments thought that producing more staple food was sufficient to improve food security. However, today’s economy, increasingly based on human capital and less on physical strength, requires that policies and programmes promote healthy diets for healthy people. This need for improved nutrition will require shifts in agricultural production and trade patterns. Solving the malnutrition problem in urban areas will also require different solutions than in rural areas, due to the difference in urban and rural food environments. In line with the structural transformation of the economy, farm households also increasingly rely on non-farm income to support their livelihoods and risk management strategies, which has implications for the uptake of new technologies. The demographic shifts, urbanization and structural changes in the economy, coupled with climate change, have made the food security and nutrition problem more complex than it was in the past. Solutions require input from different stakeholders, both public and private, as well as a range of government ministries, including Health, Finance, Education, Environment, Trade and Social Welfare in addition to Agriculture.

Asia & Pacific