AsianScientist (May 18, 2011) – APEC and the World Bank today signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to strengthen collaboration on food safety in the Asia-Pacific region, which accounts for over 40 percent of the world’s population and nearly half of global grain production.
This diverse Asia-Pacific region is also home to about one quarter of the world’s undernourished people.
Inger Andersen, World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, and the co-chairs of the APEC Food Safety Cooperation Forum, Steve McCutcheon from Australia and Lin Wei from China, signed the MOU in the margins of a series of APEC meetings currently underway in Big Sky, Montana.
They plan to work together closely on training programs to improve food safety standards and practices in the region, as well as to facilitate trade. The programs will enable more growers, producers and food safety officials to understand and utilize preventative controls, resulting in safer food for consumers and fewer safety incidents in food trade.
“Food safety is an increasingly significant part of the World Bank’s lending and technical assistance programs in East Asia and the Pacific, as well as in other regions. We are extremely pleased to be working with APEC to bring more attention to this critical issue,” said Anderson.
Anderson noted that more widespread movement of food and livestock around the world requires vigilance on food safety and disease risk. However, more exacting standards pose challenges to poor farmers competing in these growing markets (who thus require assistance).
In a joint statement, Lin and McCutcheon said that the MOU opens the way for an upscaling of food safety capacity building in the region.
APEC held its first APEC Ministerial Meeting on Food Security last October in Niigata, Japan, and committed to focus on raising agricultural productivity, facilitating trade and investment and expanding markets.
Source: Asia-Pacific Economic Forum.
Disclaimer: This article does not necessarily reflect the views of AsianScientist or its staff.