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Reforming agricultural subsidies could increase agricultural production by 17%

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Reforming agricultural subsidies could increase agricultural production by 17%

Repurposing agricultural subsidies for infrastructure could help countries like the Philippines increase agricultural production and exports while ensuring food security, participants said at a forum organized by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“This repurposing will benefit not only those countries, but the entire ADB region, increasing agricultural production by 17% and reducing hunger by 51 million people, or 30% by 2025,” said Mark Rosegrant, researcher emeritus at the International Food Policy Research Institute, told the ADB Food Security Forum.

Countries urged to redirect their agricultural subsidies included the Philippines, China, India, Kazakhstan, Indonesia, Thailand, Bangladesh and Vietnam.

“Investments in broad rural infrastructure reduce post-harvest losses in the region by around 50%,” Mr Rosegrant said.

The resulting lower food prices could reduce the number of hungry by 16 million people by 2035, he added.

Tetsushi Sonobe, dean of the ADB Institute, said agricultural subsidies should be minimized and better allocated to research, infrastructure and irrigation to ensure long-term profits for the sector.

Mr Rosegrant also mentioned the need to invest in irrigation and efficient water use.

“If you follow the same path of investing in irrigation and investing in water use efficiency, you can actually reduce water use by about 7.5% while maintaining growth in the irrigated areas,” he told the forum.

Countries also need to invest in agricultural research and design and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

“By 2050, we would have reduced initial emissions in Asia Pacific here by a third, and that will be through growth in landscape productivity, together with generational adoption of technologies such as conservation, precision agriculture and improved management of rice and cattle. .”

Xianbin Yao, director general of the ADB’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, said investments in all segments of the agricultural food chain, especially for rice, are crucial.

“There is still a challenge to increase productivity for rice yield in countries where there is high demand… that can withstand the heat of the water and flooding and at the same time manage it to minimize post-harvest loss “, he said. the sidelines of the forum.

“You have to do a very thorough assessment to decide where the resources go,” Mr Yao said. — Beatriz Marie D. Cruz