Asia Society and IRRI Task Force Outline Strategy to Fight Hunger in Asia

In 2009, the number of people experiencing chronic hunger reached one billion globally, with Asia accounting for about two-thirds of the world's hungry. Thus, Asia Society and the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) have issued an action plan to combat hunger in Asia, with emphasis on the region's staple - rice.

The Task Force working on this action plan is headed by India's leading agricultural scientist, M.S. Swaminathan, and former USDA Secretary Dan Glickman, and directed by Suzanne DiMaggio, Director of Policy Studies at the Asia Society. 

The Task Force released the report titled "Never an Empty Bowl: Sustaining Food Security in Asia" which outlines the plan focused on three key areas:

  • raising and sustaining the productivity of rice farmers, including improving resilience of crops to climate change;
  • increasing investments by countries and donor organizations in rural development, with the agricultural sector as the priority; and
  • bringing food safety net programs up to scale at the national level with investments that target better health, nutrition and formal education programs.

"Poverty remains the single biggest factor contributing to food insecurity in Asia," said M.S. Swaminathan. "Two-thirds of the world's 1.4 billion poor people surviving on less than $1.25 per day live in Asia. They spend half of their income on purchasing food, mainly rice. For the extreme poor having access to adequate food is often too costly. A ‘pro-poor growth and pro-women strategy' is the only sustainable route out of hunger and poverty. Raising agricultural productivity is central to achieving overall economic development that reaches the poor."

For more information, download the full report and other materials at


This article is part of the Crop Biotech Update, a weekly summary of world developments in agri-biotech for developing countries, produced by the Global Knowledge Center on Crop Biotechnology, International Service for the Aquisition of Agri-Biotech Applications SEAsiaCenter (ISAAA)

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