SINGAPORE - As Asia and the world marked World Food Day on this date, CropLife Asia took the opportunity to herald the contributions farmers enabled by plant science technology are making to combat hunger around the globe - and highlight the important role these agricultural innovations will play in delivering food security and sustainability to the nations of Asia and the world.
According to data from the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, it's estimated that the proportion of undernourished people in the developing world has fallen by almost half since 1990. According to the same estimates, however, almost 800 million men, women and children don't receive enough food. The FAO has also estimated that roughly two-thirds of the world's hungry live in Asia and the Pacific.
Compounding the issue is the population growth being realized in Asia and around the world. In fact, the world's population is on course to well exceed nine billion inhabitants by the year 2050. Asia alone is projected to have roughly one billion more people calling it home. The FAO has also estimated that roughly two-thirds of the world's hungry live in Asia and the Pacific. In just 10 years, the population within the ASEAN region is expected to grow by almost 60 million more people. In light of this growth, the United Nations' goal of ending world hunger by 2030 is an ambitious one.
"World Food Day is an opportunity to not only recognize the progress that's been made globally in the battle against hunger, but also sound the call to continue our efforts in meeting this challenge that impacts far too many," said Dr Siang Hee Tan, Executive Director of CropLife Asia.
"The plant science industry plays a pivotal role in enabling farmers as they adapt to the challenges of modern agriculture. With more people to feed, less water and arable land available, the threat of pests and disease, and a changing climate to confront, farmers need our help more than ever. The technological advancements of plant science are a critical tool in our collective efforts to eliminate food insecurity and hunger in Asia and around the world."
According to the FAO, growers around the world will need to produce as much as 70% more food than today to meet the expected needs of our population in 2050. The innovations of plant biotechnology and crop protection continue to drive greater production globally towards the realization of this goal in the years ahead.
Crop protection products prevent nearly 40% of global rice and maize harvests from being lost every year. Meanwhile, plant biotechnology increased crop yields 22% and increased farmer profits 68% during the 20-year period of 1995 to 2014.
 United Nations, Population Division, World Population Prospects
 Brunei Darussalam Chairmanship of ASEAN in 2013, ASEAN+6 Population Forecast
 Oerke, E.C., 2006, "Crop losses to pests", Journal of Agricultural Science, vol. 144
 International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications (ISAAA), Brief 49 - 2014
About CropLife Asia
CropLife Asia is a non-profit society and the regional organization of CropLife International, the voice of the global plant science industry. We advocate a safe, secure food supply, and our vision is food security enabled by innovative agriculture. CropLife Asia supports the work of 15 member associations across the continent and is led by nine member companies at the forefront of crop protection, seeds and/or biotechnology research and development. For more information, visit us at www.croplifeasia.org.
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