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Asia Regional Context
Despite recent gains from the Green Revolution and the dynamic economic growth of the region, Asia is still home to nearly two-thirds of the world’s poor and undernourished. Asia was the epicenter of the worldwide food security crisis in 2008, which sparked food riots across 30 countries around the world. This food crisis was primarily due to sudden protective measures in trade policies and a lack of coordination on market actions and it exposed the vulnerability of the poorest segments of the population—half of whose household income, on average, goes to buying food.
Growing imbalances between food surplus countries and food deficit countries in the region and a lack of coordinated action between these countries impairs the function of regional food markets. In contrast, strong regional markets allow food to flow quickly, and in just the right quantities, to make food available at stable prices.
Regional partnerships additionally allow for crucial knowledge, skills, and access to technologies to develop to meet demand. Improved communication and exchange of information between governments, universities, the private sector, and civil society organizations allow countries to share their experiences and innovative solutions.
What We’re Doing
Through the global hunger and food security initiative, Feed the Future, the United States Government, through USAID, has invested $3.5 billion around the world to support country-led programs that tackle poverty, hunger, and under-nutrition.
Agriculture and food security are vital to the continued economic growth of most South and Southeast Asian countries. USAID’s Feed the Future program aims to improve the regional enabling environment for regional agricultural trade and improve access to new technologies and enhancing networking between countries across the region – to alleviate poverty and ensure sustainability in food security.
At the USAID Regional Development Mission for Asia, Feed the Future involves:
Strengthening Regional Platforms
We support regional institutions, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to strengthen agriculture and food security. Regional organizations provide platform for dialogue and action on food security issues, such as the creation of regional food quality and safety standards and the streamline policies which are essential to the efficient trade of food commodities.
Creating Linkages between Diverse Partners and Building Local Capacity
We are connecting Asia’s development stakeholders, to act as a catalyst for networking and partnerships among businesses governments, multilaterals, civil society organizations, farmers and scientists. We are strengthening knowledge dissemination and access to technologies across the region, and establishing partnerships with Asian intergovernmental organizations.
Regional Agricultural Trade Environment Reports
The Regional Agricultural Trade Environment activities, implemented by the USAID Maximizing Agricultural Revenue through Knowledge, Enterprise Development and Trade Project, is a tool for examining the agricultural trade enabling environments of participating countries in regional organizations, for the purpose of helping regions streamline and strengthen their approaches to cross-border trade and food security. The assessment reports are grounded in USAID’s commitment, through its Feed the Future initiative, to facilitate the integration of farmers and rural industries into the full chain of production, from “farm to fork,” enabling them to better connect with agricultural trade and market opportunities.
Launched in April 2012, the assessment reports cover seven of the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It examines a range of agriculture and trade-related policies, laws, institutions, and social dynamics that impact the environment for trade, both with respect to international markets, and, critically, among ASEAN Member States themselves. To view the reports, click HERE
What We’ve Achieved
- USAID recently launched AgLEARN, the Agricultural Learning Exchange for Asian Regional Networking, to provide a platform for regional collaboration in research, training and exchange of innovative food security technologies in Cambodia, Bangladesh, and Nepal, with support from organizations in India, Thailand, and the United States.
- USAID launched a South Asia Regional Food Security Policy Assessment to improve regional coordination on agricultural trade policies and public-private sector engagement in Bangladesh and Nepal.
- Regional Agricultural Trade Environment (RATE) assessments in seven countries in Asia have indentified sixteen specific regulations, laws and practices related to the straemlining of regional trade for ASEAN member states for revision.
- USAID’s Gender & Food Security Report identifies ways to bring more women into trade and markets. We are studying the roles of women in agriculture and aquaculture value chains to understand the constraints and opportunities presented to women as farmers, processors, exporters, retailers, farm workers or managers of households. Have also facilitated a regional gender workshop focusing on women entrepreneurs and women in agriculture.
- USAID also established and engaged private sector dialogue to talk about regional food security. USAID also assisted in the drafting of the Laos food law.
Last updated: February 11, 2015