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Asia-Pacific countries pledge bold and innovative action for food security and livelihoods

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Inovation, solidarity, coherence and strong partnership among and within countries of Asia and the Pacific are required for the region to rebound from the damage caused by COVID-19 and the ongoing effects of chronic undernourishment.

This call was made by more than 40 member countries of the Food and Agriculture Organization, as they pledged to work to transform food systems, making them more sustainable, productive and resilient, and to feed a hungry world in a way that is profitable for farmers yet produces healthy food that is accessible to all.

“To transform food systems for sustainable healthy diets we must have coherence, partnerships and solidarity to reduce the costs of production,” FAO Director-General QU Dongyu said on the final day of the 35th Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, hosted by the Government of Bhutan.

“Big data, a digital economy and mobile technology will help producers achieve that.” Today, mobile technology is leading innovation “and a smartphone in the hands of a smallholder farmer is his new farming tool,” the Director-General added.

“Leveraging data, innovation and technology has shown that, here in Asia and the Pacific, we have brilliant minds, scientists and an entrepreneurial spirit that will lead us through the challenges presented by COVID-19 and help us conquer malnutrition and poverty,” the Director-General said.

The Conference held a special session dedicated to the application of new technology and innovation in agriculture, which are wooing back young people and empowering women in the sector, according to participants. It was agreed that new and innovative food and agricultural policies, processes, investment and learning could get the region back on track to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 2 (ending hunger and promoting sustainable agriculture) by 2030.

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