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New Normal or False Dawn: Foreign Direct Investment is the Key to Counter Volatility and Improve Food Security Robustness in Developing Asia

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-Market volatility has the greatest impact on the least food secure, mainly rural communities and farmers.
-Demand for varied and better quality food is driven by growing middle class.
-Policy makers have a role to attract greater FDI in the agriculture sector.

SINGAPORE /PRNewswire/ — Today the Rice Bowl Index Advisory Board issued an update to the 2015 Rice Bowl Index (RBI) Report. Titled “New Norm or False Dawn”, the white paper looks at the impact of economic and political factors on a country’s food security robustness.

There are many factors at play in the food security landscape. In 2015, slowing economic growth, lower commodity prices, changing Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) landscapes and political reforms present a mixed outlook for consumer spending and food consumption patterns for countries included in the Rice Bowl Index.

Volatile market conditions have the greatest impact on the least food secure such as rural communities and farmers in developing Asia. Falling commodity prices reduce farmer incomes and resources, limiting their ability to invest in the production of higher quality products.

However, steady growth in household incomes for the middle and affluent classes continues. An increase in rapid economic development and improving job opportunities positively impacts their disposable income and drives demand for better quality food. However, farmers are unable to meet this demand as they do not have the resources to change cropping patterns or invest in technologies to deliver a more sustainable yield and better quality crop.

“The current environment we find ourselves in is not a new normal but a false dawn brought on by continued volatility in Asian agricultural markets. This stresses the continued importance for policy makers to strive to be food security robust in order to better manage this volatility,” commented Andrew McConville, member of the Rice Bowl Index Advisory Board and Head of Corporate Affairs, Syngenta Asia Pacific. “In order for Asian farmers to meet the growing demand for more varied and better quality food, they need access to the right agricultural inputs.”

A solution proposed by the Report was greater FDI support in the agriculture sector. Regulators and policy makers in developing Asia need to create an environment that is desirable for investment; this will help to bring the latest tools and technologies to growers in the region. Better quality food not only addresses the demand from the rise of the middle class but also has a positive impact on nutrition and is particularly needed to set the foundation for a healthy nation.

“The future outlook presented by the Rice Bowl Index continues to provide the necessary information for governments to tailor policies for a robust and sustainable food system,” said Paul Teng, RBI board member, Adjunct Senior Fellow (Food Security), S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Nanyang Technological University, and Principal Officer, National Institute of Education. “Policy makers need to employ a balanced approach within the four rubrics as highlighted by the Rice Bowl Index to enact change and this can be explored further on our new website.”

For more information on the Rice Bowl Index and the 2015 report, please visit or@RiceBowlIndex.

Download the 2015 Full Year Report for the Rice Bowl Index here.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Andrew McConville
Head of Corporate Affairs
Syngenta Asia Pacific
Tel: +6597296009

About the Rice Bowl Index

Launched in 2012, the Rice Bowl Index is a diagnostic tool and white paper that provides insight and information on the robustness of the food security system across Asia-Pacific. The Rice Bowl Index is designed to facilitate productive dialogue, collaboration and action between governments, NGOs and the private sector, moving from simply identifying problems to finding solutions.

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Source: Rice Bowl Index

Written by asiafreshnews

December 3, 2015 at 2:52 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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