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Food systems in the Asian region have undergone important changes over the past decades, mostly due to rapid economic growth, increasing populations and demographic shifts, rapid urbanization, rural and urban transformation, changing food consumption behavior, and climate change. The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on agriculture have been exacerbated by the way in which the current industrial farming system is set up and have particularly affected family farmers, who represent the majority in the region.
Agroecology is an integrated approach that applies ecological and social concepts and principles to the design and management of sustainable agrifood systems. It addresses the root causes of agrifood problems in an integrated way and provides holistic, long-term solutions. Agroecology systems combine tradition, innovation, and science to benefit the shared environment and promote fair relationships and a good quality of life for all involved. They can significantly contribute to addressing global environmental and social changes and to meeting the UN SDGs. In order to take full advantage of their potential, agroecological systems need to grow, continuously improve their performance, inspire mainstream agriculture, and take the lead in agroindustry.
A workshop on Agroecological Systems was organized by the APO from 14–16 December 2021 to help 46 participants from 13 countries to understand the issues that remain in delivering safe, high-quality products to consumers. Ways to meet global agrifood challenges through widespread adoption of agroecology, organic farming approaches, and innovative agroecological models among APO member countries to enhance small-scale farm productivity were discussed. Participants from Cambodia, the ROC, Sri Lanka, and Turkey shared country experiences. The workshop was conducted by four resource persons from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, Belgium, the Philippines, and Vietnam.