APEC ministers urge the region’s economies to step up efforts to promote food security by fostering sustainable food systems, embracing technology, leveraging collaboration and trade, and strengthening rural development.

At the 5th APEC Food Security Ministerial Meeting in Puerto Varas, Chile, ministers agreed that continued cooperation is critical to reduce practices that impede food security and advance the integration of the region’s farmers and fishers into global value chains for food trade, according to a statement issued by the APEC Policy Partnership on Food Security in Puerto Varas, Chile.

“(We have) this great opportunity to shape the future of our food systems, essential for our people — the ultimate reason to be here and do what we do,” said Antonio Walker, Minister of Agriculture for Chile, APEC 2019’s host economy.

According to the statement, the Asia-Pacific region faces enormous challenges to meet the needs of its growing population, which has grown by more than 1% every year.

Addressing food insecurity includes taking action to protect marine environments and address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing. Seafood consumption provides nearly 22% of the region’s average per capita animal protein intake. Marine debris, which includes plastic pollution, affects food security by entangling ocean wildlife in the waste.

APEC ministers also sought more action to broaden access to finance and markets for small producers and the adoption of more technologies to improve productivity in food production.

“The introduction of new technologies in each space of agriculture and food production could lead to more resilient productivity and sustainability in the agriculture production sector, as well as in agri-food chains, with higher levels of traceability and transparency,” said Mr. Walker.

Predictable and open trade regimes also foster food security. Trade underpinned by transparent and non-discriminatory rules leads to a greater flow of goods and integration of producers into markets.

“Trade policies that affect economies should be transparent and non-protective, supported by evidence-based rules and regulation,” said Salahuddin Ayub, Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry for Malaysia, host economy of APEC 2020.