CẦN THƠ – The Policy Partnership on Food Security (PPFS) meeting was held in Cần Thơ yesterday during the APEC Food Security Week to shape actions to ensure food security in the context of climate change and urbanisation.
PPFS members updated the two-day meeting on outcomes of completed and ongoing activities for 2017, and discussed and approved the action plans to implement the APEC Framework for Multi-Year APEC Programme on Food Security and Climate Change and APEC Strategic Framework for Rural-Urban Development to Strengthen Food Security and Quality Growth.
Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Lê Quốc Doanh said agriculture depends much on climate.
“The earth’s temperature rise has been challenging agriculture with disease spread, unstable productivity, serious droughts, freshwater scarcity, loss of bio-diversity, and others.”
Urbanisation, despite its advantages like job creation, infrastructure development and raising incomes, also brings difficulties like insufficient lands for food production.
“Việt Nam has taken serious measures and made fundamental changes. In large parts of the farm sector, the monitoring of agronomic practices for sustainability standards, natural resource management, waste management, and energy efficiency have been mainstreamed, balancing economic growth and environmental sustainability, as specifically stated in the Agricultural Restructuring Plan.”
Given the unprecedented impacts of climate change, and also impacts of urbanization, a stronger focus is needed on enhancing food security and sustainable, more resilient agriculture and quality growth through better use of advanced technologies and enhancement of regional and global food value chains, he said.
“Food security requires APEC economies to take collective action.”
APEC economies need to strengthen co-operation to improve governance and efficient use of natural resources while securing long-term food supply, and APEC should find ways to facilitate the transfer and application of technologies to increase agricultural productivity, quality, sustainability and resilience, he said.
Incentives to fully engage farmers and the private sector should be shared among APEC members, he added.
“APEC as a whole should work together to create a policy environment to facilitate the participation of farmers, small households and the private sector and strengthen the public - private partnership model to promote food security, he said.
“In a regionalised world of profound challenges, APEC needs to make greater efforts and act as a driver of global growth. It is time for us to turn the commitment we have into actions clarified in the Action Plans.”
Pruthipong Poonthrigobol, PPFS director, said: “The Action Plans and other strategic frameworks and work programmes on the PPFS Roadmap towards Food Security 2020 laid the foundation for our work of attaining the APEC Food System by 2020.
“We would urge member economies to continue the efforts."
Ocean and fisheries group meeting
On the same day the APEC Oceans and Fisheries Working Group (OFWG) also began its two-day ninth annual meeting.
It aims to complete the fourth assessment of its work in 2017, review some of its ongoing projects, discuss new projects that have recently been included in its agenda, and go over the goals of the next annual meeting, according to Patrick E. Moran, lead shepherd of APEC-OFWG.
Moran, who will chair the second official joint meeting of OFWG along with other APEC working groups including the PPFS on Wednesday, stressed the importance of the joint meeting, saying that one of the large projects and action plan adopted by PPFS were closely connected with the work of the OFWG.
He said the OFWG would focus mostly on areas where it could collaborate more effectively with PPFS.
"It’s very important now that we have access to PPFS’s process that we can engage and bring our work to them and demonstrate how fisheries and oceans are an important part of the food security dialogue."
According to a report by OFWG, APEC members account for over 80 percent of global aquaculture production and more than 65 percent of capture fisheries.
The consumption of fishery products in the APEC region is 65 percent higher than the world average. As APEC economies represent nine of the top 10 fish producers in the world, APEC’s focus on oceans and fisheries issues is natural.
Speaking on the sidelines of the meeting, Moran told Việt Nam News that food security is a very important part of APEC economies, yet in the past the food security dialogues in APEC were all about rice, wheat, corn, etc.
"It took us a long time to explain how fisheries is an important part of that dialogue as well, particularly in the region."
He said that since APEC Food Security Week would be held every year, OFWG would try to figure out how it could co-ordinate with PPFS so that everyone’s work goes in the right direction.
"We are going to work hard to make sure we can bring added value to the food security discussion.”
Trần Đình Luân, deputy general director of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development’s Directorate of Fisheries, said since OFWG’s meeting in February in Nha Trang APEC economies have already joined hands to take significant strides towards the implementation of the working group’s strategic plan.
The outcomes of its meeting in Cần Thơ would serve as important inputs for high-level APEC policy dialogues on enhancing food security and sustainable agriculture in response to climate change and for APEC’s co-operation direction, he added.