Asia has made significant progress in increasing its agricultural productivity and reducing poverty since the 1960s. Yet real world food prices of most cereals and meats are now projected to rise, reversing a long-established downward trend with adverse impacts on poor consumers in Asia and elsewhere. Growing resource scarcity, particularly of water, will increasingly constrain food production growth, and climatic stresses will likely shrink Asian farmers’ abilities to produce grains, as is predicted for the Indo-Gangetic plains. Meanwhile, growing demand for high-value foods, such as livestock, fish, vegetables, and fruits will put further pressure on the natural resource base. Moreover, bioenergy demands will compete with the land and water resources that are used for food. The consequences of these pressures will adversely affect food security and goals for human well-being, slowing progress in reducing childhood malnutrition. Drawing on projections of the International Model for Policy Analysis of Agricultural Commodities and Trade (IMPACT), we find that changes in investments in agricultural research and knowledge (ARK) are required to boost crop yields and growth in livestock numbers. If aggressive investments in ARK are combined with advances in other, complementary sectors, such as access to water and secondary education, then positive impacts could be further strengthened.
Rosegrant, Mark; Ringler, Claudia; Msangi, Siwi; Zhu, Tingju; Sulser, Timothy; Valmonte-Santos, Rowena; Wood, Stanley (2007) "Agriculture and Food Security in Asia: The Role of Agricultural Research and Knowledge in a Changing Environment," Journal of the SAT Agricultural Research, vol. 4, 1.