ASIA must work on decarbonizing agriculture and transitioning to net-zero to ensure food security in the face of climate change, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said.

“Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population, 52% of global agricultural production, and 43% of agriculture-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions,” the ADB said in a working paper.

“While a large portion of the Asian population depends on agriculture for their livelihood and food security, the agriculture sector is one of the main sources of GHG emissions in the region. In some Asian economies, it accounts for more than 40% of total emissions,” it added.

In the region, a major source of agricultural emissions is rice cultivation, synthetic fertilizer use, crop residue burning, and manure management.

“In most cases, the majority of emissions comes from a few countries such as India, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, the People’s Republic of China, and Vietnam.”

Studies also show that countries like the Philippines, India, the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Pakistan, are “responsible for a large share of food system emissions because they require materials and energy for processing, packaging, transportation, and storage.”

“From an emissions mitigation perspective, this trend suggests that the food sector requires specific sectoral energy efficiency and decarbonization policies, as well as emissions mitigation policies for both consumers and producers,” it added.

The ADB also cited the need to invest in adaptation and mitigation measures and promote the use of low-emission technologies to support the transition to net zero.

“Asia has one of the greatest potentials in the world to contribute effectively to achieving the net-zero target in agriculture and land use. The mitigation potential to achieve the net-zero target in Asian agriculture comes from various sources of emissions from agriculture and land-use change,” it said.

It also recommended looking into innovative funding sources and incentives that favor mitigation measures and promoting regional collaboration to ensure successful implementation of policy. — Luisa Maria Jacinta C. Jocson