Asia food security enquiry calls for cooperative approach

December 2, 2015

Second Murdoch Commission Co-Chairs Professor John Edwards and Professor Mely Caballero Anthony

Second Murdoch Commission Co-Chairs Professor John Edwards and Professor Mely Caballero Anthony

An independent report commissioned by Murdoch University has found that a more cooperative and strategic approach between and within countries in Asia will be required to tackle the challenge of food security.

The Second Murdoch Commission, which assembled a diverse group of experts, investigated regional food security across the Association of Southeast Asian Nations plus six (ASEAN+6) group of nations, which includes Australia.

Their recommendations included:

  • Harmonising food standards across Asia;
  • Taking a uniform approach to the identification and management of biosecurity threats;
  • Developing and promoting the adoption of new and improved environment-friendly technologies;
  • Interventions to help smallholder farmers reduce costs and increase effectiveness of disease control;
  • Increase public investment in infrastructure and research and development, especially in countries where it is low relative to agricultural GDP;
  • Reforming land regulation including tenancy rights;
  • Speeding up free trade agreements and food market liberalisation regionally and globally and communicating the benefits of this between countries;
  • Establishing an independent pan-regional food security agency;
  • Communicating the merits of GM products across the region.

The Commission, which was co-chaired by Emeritus Professor John Edwards, former Dean of the School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences at Murdoch, and Professor Mely Caballero Anthony from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, visited Indonesia, Vietnam, China and India to consult with industry, government and academic experts, as well as farmers and grass roots organisations, during its nine month long investigation.

It is hoped the recommendations in their report will contribute to future policy development and promote enhanced collaborations between national and regional organisations for education, training and development.

“Strengthening and deepening regional cooperation will be critical in managing food insecurities,” said Professor Edwards.

“It will require partnership building beyond inter-governmental frameworks that also brings in the wider range of stakeholder groups, including the private sector, civil society and academia, to craft policies that advance a comprehensive food security agenda.

“Through political willingness and regional collaboration, sustained efforts along the food value chain will help create a resilient and environmentally balanced system.”

Professor Cabellero Anthony said Australia has a significant role to play in addressing regional food security.

“As an exporter of high quality agricultural commodities and through its significant scientific and technical capacities in the agri-food sector and related areas such as food safety and biosecurity, Australia can help to make a difference for its Asian partners,” she added.

“Western Australia’s significant capabilities in these areas are also an important part of the regional food security story.”

Acting Vice Chancellor of Murdoch University Professor Andrew Taggart said the publication of the Commission’s final report was a judicious contribution to food policy debates in Asia.

“The Second Murdoch Commission is an important part of Murdoch’s commitment to being a global citizen by continuing to work with its students, staff and partners towards a more sustainable, equitable, healthy and food-secure world.”

The full report, titled Food Security, Trade and Partnerships: Towards resilient regional food systems in Asia, is available from the Second Murdoch Commission website here.

Watch the Channel News Asia report featuring Dr Christopher Vas, Script Founder, at the launch in Singapore on 2 December 2015

Print This Post Print This Post

Leave a comment

You can use these tags : <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

We read every comment and will make every effort to approve each new comment within one working day. To ensure speedy posting, please keep your comments relevant to the topic of discussion, free of inappropriate language and in-line with the editorial integrity of this newsroom. If not, your comments may not be published.

Thanks for commenting!