Green Asia Report Series No. 1
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) launched the national initiative known as the Sustainable Food System Strategy “MIDORI” in May 2021, emphasizing Japan's commitment to promoting this strategy as a pioneering model for sustainable food system initiatives in the Asia-Monsoon region while actively participating in international rule-making. Building on this initiative, MAFF initiated the project entitled "Accelerating the Application of Agricultural Technologies to Enhance Production Potential and Ensure Sustainable Food Systems in the Asia-Monsoon Region" in FY2022. The project aims to promote the application of technologies that contribute to climate change mitigation and sustainable agriculture in the Asia-Monsoon region, and JIRCAS is leading this effort under the name "Green Asia" (for short).
We have recently prepared a report detailing the rationale behind the initiation of the “Green Asia” project and would like to share some aspects of it here.
The “Green Asia” project recognizes that the prevailing hot and humid climate and the predominance of paddy-based agriculture in the region have a significant impact on the socio-economic conditions of smallholder farmers. The scope of the project was defined based on these climatic considerations. Specifically, we identified countries and economies in East Asia, Southeast Asia, and South Asia that are primarily in the tropical and temperate zones with significant summer rainfall and humidity according to the Köppen climate classification as the Asia-Monsoon region. Notably, in China and India, countries with large land areas, we excluded arid and cool regions at the provincial and state levels, respectively, and focused only on tropical and temperate regions characterized by high summer rainfall and humidity. As a result, the Asia-Monsoon region, as defined by the “Green Asia” project, encompasses approximately 9% of the world's land area, is home to 44% of the world's population, and contributes 28% of the world's GDP.
Conversely, according to the World Bank's World Development Indicator (WDI), the Asian monsoon region is responsible for 40% of global non-carbon dioxide greenhouse gas emissions from agricultural activities (see Note). These statistics underscore the global importance of collaboration among countries and economies within this region to bring about transformative changes in the global food system.
The Asia-Monsoon region shares several characteristics with Japan, including high temperatures, humidity, rice-centric agriculture, and a significant proportion of small and medium farmers. However, the agricultural sector in the Asia-Monsoon region is increasingly vulnerable to extreme weather events due to climate change, mirroring trends observed globally. The region also faces significant pest and disease risks. At the same time, it is one of the world's leading emitters of agricultural greenhouse gases. This calls for the urgent application of science and technological innovation to reduce the environmental impacts of agriculture, such as greenhouse gas emissions, while increasing productivity.
To accelerate the adoption of scientific and technological innovations in the Asia-Monsoon region, it is essential to share knowledge and experience among stakeholders. Many of the technologies developed to revolutionize Japan's food system can be effectively applied in the Asia-Monsoon region. Establishing a network for sharing information on scientific and technological innovations among stakeholders in the region will facilitate and accelerate efforts to transform the food system at the regional level.
In the upcoming editions of the Green Asia Report series, we will focus on scalable technologies with potential for application in the Asia-Monsoon region. These reports will be made available on the website of the International Center for Strategy“MIDORI".
* Note: In the case of China and India, the WDI includes all provinces and states.
Iiyama M, Kanamori N, Kobayashi S, Funaki Y (2023) Driving Sustainable Food Systems Transformation in the Asia-Monsoon Region with Science, Technology and Innovation. Background and key issues for “Green Asia” project. Green Asia Report Series No.1. JIRCAS. (https://www.jircas.go.jp/ja/publication/gars-e/1)
飯山みゆき、金森紀仁、小林慎太郎、舟木康郎 (2023)、アジアモンスーン地域における科学・技術・イノベーションの適用を通じた持続可能な食料システムの変革の推進、グリーンアジア レポートシリーズ、No. 1. 国立研究開発法人国際農林水産業研究センター (https://www.jircas.go.jp/ja/publication/gars-j/1)