Driving sustainable food systems transformation in the Asia-Monsoon region with science, technology, and innovation: background and key issues for "Green Asia" project


The Asia-Monsoon region includes the economies of eastern, southeastern, and southern Asia. Under the arbitral delineation of the Asia-Monsoon region for this study, an estimated 3.34 billion people or 44% of the world population as of 2018 lived in areas corresponding to 9% of the world total land area, while accounting for 28% of the global GDP. With the projection that the regional population will increase by at least 420 million by 2050, the region still needs to boost food production to ensure food security and poverty alleviation, with serious trade-offs in reducing the non-CO2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the agricultural sector, whose region’s share in the global total amounts to 40%. Since a paradigm shift toward sustainable agricultural practices is becoming an inevitable global trend, the region’s food systems urgently need to identify science, technology, and innovation (STI) that can drive sustainable food systems transformations by simultaneously mitigating environmental impacts and enhancing food productivity.

The key features of the agricultural sector of the Asia-Monsoon region, namely, a hot and humid climate, rice paddy farming, and small-scale farmers, form an environment conducive to highly intensive farming systems. The intensiveness of the region’s farming systems is also different from that of other regions of the world, such as Europe and the Americas. These distinguishing features of the agricultural sector of the Asia-Monsoon region should be considered when identifying and devising effective STI interventions to contribute to environmental sustainability without sacrificing productivity in climate emergencies and environmental crises.

The agricultural sector of the Asia-Monsoon region is increasingly exposed to climate emergencies, and environmental crises negatively affect the productivity and quality of products. At the same time, the region is responsible for 40% of the global non-CO2 GHG emissions from the agricultural sector, major sources including rice paddies for CH4, and inefficient fertilizer use for N2O. Thus, it is urgent for the region to accelerate the deployment of STI to reduce the environmental footprint without sacrificing productivity. Within the Asia-Monsoon region, there are many common features that may provide enabling conditions to realize the swift implementation of food systems transformation by scaling up scalable agronomic practices with fine-scale tailoring to locally specific contexts. By taking advantage of these common features, the Asia-Monsoon region should pursue economies of scale for technology application by leveraging collective actions to share knowledge.

Given the collective significance of the Asia-Monsoon region, the success of the regional food systems transformation should have enormous global impacts to demonstrate the potential of synergies for climate change mitigation and sustainable agricultural production. There are significant opportunities for the region to realize the rapid transformation of food systems if an enabling environment is in place for co-learning experiences to test and disseminate STI. The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (MAFF) Japan, which announced its national strategy for a sustainable food system “MIDORI” in May 2021, has decided to initiate a project, “Accelerating application of agricultural technologies which enhance production potentials and ensure sustainable food systems in the Asia-Monsoon region.” MAFF assigned the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) to take charge of the project, which is managed under the name ‘Green Asia’. This project aims to accelerate the application of fundamental agricultural technologies in the region. As a mechanism to achieve the aim of the project, the project conducts the collection, analysis, management, and dissemination of research results and outputs useful in and applicable to the region, including those from Japan. It is expected that the results and outputs of this project could serve as a reference for various stakeholders, including government officials, researchers, extension officers, producers, and the private sector, thereby contributing to sustainable food systems transformation in the Asia-Monsoon region and beyond.

作成者 Miyuki Iiyama Norihito Kanamori Shintaro Kobayashi Yasuro Funaki
公開者 Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences
言語 eng