Asia-Pacific governments must make “major, fundamental decisions” to increase food production, or the region will face critical food shortages and widespread hunger, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations warned Monday.
The alert came during the 32nd FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific at the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator.
There are 550 million hungry people in the Asia-Pacific region — more than all other areas of the world combined, said the FAO.
The organization did have some positive news: A goal of cutting hunger in half by 2015 is on track to be met, with Southeastern Asia already meeting that target. Still, Asia and the Pacific must increase their food production by up to 77 percent in order to feed their population by 2050, when the global population is expected to exceed 9 billion.
The FAO recommends that the Asia-Pacific region focus on modernizing farming, fishing and forestry practices. The area must also curb its high rate of food waste, which stands at 30-50 percent for grains and fresh produce.