• Southeast Asia faces food security concerns


    Food security is an overriding concern and pressing issue in the Southeast Asian region and has very serious implications on the poverty reduction efforts of the governments and international development organizations.

    At the supply side, food security is affected by production levels of farmers, climate change hazards/risks and amount of investments poured into agriculture including support services, among others. On the demand side, food security levels can be influenced by trade routes and supply chains, changing patterns of consumption in some countries which can cause deficits in net importing countries, government actions as a response to international events, effects of the Southeast Asian regional trade integration and the region adapting to a more liberalized global trade environment.

    With this in mind, the Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (Searca) based in Los Baños in Laguna, which is mandated to build the capacities of institutions working toward agricultural and rural development in the region, recently initiated a meta-analysis of its food security-related studies and other initiatives, with Dr. Dinah Pura Depositario serving as researcher cum writer.

    She was appointed Searca adjunct fellow in May 2013.

    Entitled “Meta-Analysis of Searca’s Food Security Initiatives,” the study aims to examine completed and ongoing food security-related studies and other initiatives conducted by Searca between 2000 and 2013, and analyze trends, draw lessons and identify research and knowledge gaps. The purpose is to determine the trends and patterns in the past food security researches Searca has conducted, assess the accomplishments of the center on food security and derive from the food security initiatives the directions Searca should take in order to have a more relevant role in addressing the issue.

    The study incorporates the four facets of food security—availability, access, utilization and stability—and the important determinants of each facet were identified. The determinants include level of production, stock level and net trade for availability; income/income distribution, expenditure, and markets and prices for access; food safety and standards, food care and feeding practices, food preparation, diversity of diet, and intra-household distribution of food for utilization and adverse weather conditions, political instability, and economic and ecological factors for stability.

    Additional food security driving forces such as trade liberalization policies, advances in biotechnology, post-harvest and processing, and other technologies and changing consumer preferences were also matched with the food security determinants.

    Issues which are becoming increasingly important in recent years such as food security versus energy security and gender are also included. To complement the study, the evolution of Searca’s thrusts since its establishment will also be examined. This can serve as additional input to drawing recommended future directions for the Center’s food security initiatives,” Searca said in a statement.

    The meta-analysis study started in April 2013, and the final report is expected to be completed by the end of July 2013.


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