An umbrella program to help Southeast Asia achieve food security was recently finetuned by experts from the region.
The Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) said that the University Consortium (UC) under it will also help implement the “Umbrella Program on Food Security for Southeast Asia” in the next five years.
The UC is made up of educational institutions with expertise in agriculture from Southeast Asia, and Japan, Germany and Canada. During a meeting held early this month, Searca and UC members enhanced the agenda of the Food Security Umbrella Program, by identifying other priority areas and cutting-edge thinking on food and nutrition security, considering the changing Southeast Asian and global agricultural landscape.
Searca Director Dr. Gil Saguiguit Jr. said that the umbrella program can also revitalize the University Consortium by tapping and harnessing the expertise within the consortium, and focusing on a pressing issue that is truly regional in scope, which is food security.
He also emphasized that Searca and the UC must be specific in addressing the issue by filling the gaps that are not being attended to by other international development organizations, and concentrating on where they can give the most value.
“Specific issues that contribute to food insecurity in Southeast Asia were identified. These include uncontrolled population growth that goes beyond the capacity of struggling economies to provide basic social services, changing preferences and increasing capacities of countries experiencing high economic growth, technical and nontechnical barriers to trade within the region, like restrictions on agricultural food products, information asymmetry, price volatility, and even political instability that can lead to imbalances in supply and demand,” he said.