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Sustained productivity growth and transformation of the agrifood sector have been common goals among APO members. The sector faces many challenges that continue to evolve over time such as global warming, which decreases harvests and reduces crop quality; consumers’ preference for fresher, appealing produce, which leads to increased use of pesticides; wasteful packaging; and greater food losses. Massive supply chain disruptions caused by the pandemic are major new challenges. Rapidly growing Asian populations require substantially more food, whereas in some developed countries like Japan the population is both decreasing and aging, underlining the issue of a diminishing agricultural labor force and the urgency of accelerating the adoption of smart agricultural technologies.
The APO Secretariat organized a virtual Conference on Agrifood Evolution, 31 August. Thirty-five participants from nine countries learned about the latest emerging and future challenges faced by the agrifood sector, preparations required for sustainable agrifood management in light of the evolving challenges, and techniques for resilient agrifood businesses to ensure food security for citizens.
In addition to the broader objectives, the conference highlighted policies to evolve agrifood businesses in the future, prepare to mitigate future risks in agriculture, and incorporate diversity and globalization in future food. Two resource persons from Japan and one each from the ROC and Thailand delivered presentations at the conference.