11 March 2022, Dhaka, Bangladesh - Ministerial Roundtable on Greener and Better Agrifood Systems after COVID-19. FAO Regional Conference for Asia and the Pacific, 36th Session (APRC 36). Composite photo from left: Conference Secretary; Mohammad Abdur Razzaque, Chairperson; Maximo Torero, FAO Chief Economist; FAO Director-General QU Dongyu; Samoa Laaulialemalietoa Leuatea Schimidt; Wlliam Dar, Secretary of Agriculture of the Philippines.Representative of Japan Ministry of Agriculture; China Yande Zeng, Chief Agronomist; Minister of Livestock of Bangladesh SM Rezaul Karim; Representative of Papua New Guinea; Syahrul Yasin Limpo, Minister of Agriculture, Republic of Indonesia; Representative of Agriculture Food and Rural Affairs Minister of the Republic of Korea; Beth Bechdol, FAO Deputy Director-General.
The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) has been intensively working on the COVID-19 Response and Recovery Programme to reach a larger share of rural populations and to relaunch economic activities. The Programme is now focusing on building back better and stronger towards transforming agrifood systems across all our Four Betters, with an emphasis on science and innovation, climate change, legal frameworks and scaling up. This paper examines the situation in Asia and the Pacific during the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and 2021. It reviews the health, economic, livelihood, and food security impacts both regionally and at the country level for specific groups, such as the poor and the most vulnerable segments of the population. Given the broad socio-economic reach of the pandemic, the Report examines the macro-economic impacts and the effects on employment and income, migration and trade, economic growth and government fiscal space, food security and nutrition, poverty, and hunger. The Report also reviews the various governments' responses to the COVID-19 pandemic covering the health crisis, macro economy, unemployment, food supply disruptions, food demand shocks arising from the pandemic lockdowns, reduced mobility, restrictions on international travel, and internal and cross border migration. These responses include governments' investments in health services; expansion of social protection measures to new groups and beneficiaries; trade measures to ensure continued trade in critical food and health products, and financial support measures to minimize job losses and reduce food supply chain disruptions. It also covers new policies and investment priorities, including digital technologies, to rebuild agrifood systems that are resilient, inclusive and green.