Stories written by Paul Teng

Food Security Issues in Asia

Asia has about 60% of the World’s population but only about a third of the world’s arable land. This region additionally has some of the most economically active countries with increasing urbanisation and a growing middle class. Asia is also home to some of the most affected countries by climate change. For these and other reasons, food security in Asia affects global food security through many inter-links. A new book, “Food Security Issues in Asia”, edited by Paul Teng and with multiple authors, explicates many of the key issues continuing to cause food insecurity in Asia as well as discourses on exciting developments. Through its twenty-seven chapters, the book, published by World Scientific Publishers Singapore was launched on 27 March 2024 in Singapore by Ambassador Ong Keng Yong, former ASEAN Secretary General.

Bringing Seeds of Hope to Farmers

Amidst a backdrop of rising food insecurity worldwide and a global food supply chain crisis, many countries are attempting to increase the level of food self-production. One improved input for farming which is receiving renewed attention is improved seed. The two most populous countries in the world, China and India, have recently made ground-breaking moves to improve their competitive position by developing new seeds which will improve their food production and increase resilience to climate change. So far, in 2022, new regulations on using biotechnology (genetic modification and gene editing) have been put in place by both countries to ultimately allow smallholder farmers to benefit from these new seeds.

Golden Rice: Triumph for Science

After almost two decades, Golden Rice was approved last week by the Philippines authorities for use as food. This together with the approval of the bioengineered Bt eggplant represents a landmark victory of science over misinformation; it will provide consumers with improved nutrition (Golden Rice) and safer food (Bt eggplant).

Southeast Asia and Food Price Inflation: Double Whammy

In 2020, Southeast Asian countries were already facing varied challenges that affected the region’s food supplies and prices. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic later in the year exacerbated the region’s food insecurity and poverty. Southeast Asian countries need to take a hard look at food security, even as the double challenges — climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic — continue to fester.

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