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Asia Pacific: Rice index finds declining food security robustness

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The fifth edition of the Rice Bowl Index (RBI) report has highlighted changes in the food security landscape in Asia Pacific over the last 12 months.

The report has stated a decline in food security robustness scores across the region – a stark contrast to the improvement observed in RBI results during 2014 and 2015.

“The challenge of food security is no less significant now than it was five years ago when the first RBI report was released,” says RBI advisory board member and Syngenta’s head of corporate affairs for Asia Pacific, Andrew McConville.

“This year’s RBI results provide a warning that the region’s food security remains at risk.”

The report recommends that there must be a greater focus on the needs of smallholder farmers.

Accessibility and inclusivity are key pillars in empowering smallholders to improving robustness but this can only be fully realized through collaboration across the value-chain.

The aim of collaboration is to improve smallholder resilience and to create functioning markets with price transparency, information flow and communication, transportation and storage, finance, knowledge transfer and extension and equality.

“Looking forward, despite short term down trends over the forecast period, the food security landscape for Asia remains positive,” says Richard Leggett, RBI advisory board member and CEO of Frontier Strategy Group.

“We expect an increased focus on food safety, food waste and food quality that will drive demands from consumers for improvements in food value chain infrastructure like transport to markets, post-harvest storage and services, cold storage and improved processing, with a stronger commitment to also improving environmental outcomes.”

Launched in 2012, the RBI is a diagnostic tool and white paper that provides insight and information on the robustness of the food security system across Asia Pacific.