Food for all: investing in food security in Asia and the Pacific – issues, innovations, and practices

Food security is a critical issue for Asia and the Pacific. The region is the world’s key supplier and largest consumer of food yet it is also home to the largest number of the world’s poor and hungry. It presents a stark contrast—a food bowl that is full to the brim but cannot feed those who need food the most just to survive. To address food security in a sustainable manner, on 7–9 July 2010, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), and International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) joined hands to convene the Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific at the ADB headquarters in Manila. This book distills the wealth of information and depth of discussions derived from the proceedings of this landmark forum. With this book, ADB seeks to facilitate the sharing of knowledge, innovations, good practices, and lessons on food security and to catalyze greater interest and action on the issue at every front.

  • Foreword
  • Introduction
  • A Multi-sector Response to Food Security
  • Food for All through Innovative Partnerships
  • Country Responses to Food Security
  • Fostering Food Security through Regional Cooperation and Integration
  • Investments for Enhancing Productivity
  • Investing in Natural Resource Management and Environment Services
  • Building Resilience Against Vulnerability
  • Innovative Financing for Food Security
  • Investments in Connectivity
  • Perspectives from Key Stakeholders
  • Road Map for Change
  • Appendix: Program of the Investment Forum for Food Security in Asia and the Pacific
Publication Date: 20/01/2012
Source: Asian Development Bank

Group. The Greed : Mega RevolutionFoundations, Agribusiness Muscle In On Public Goods

Big Agribusiness Influence Threatens to Override Public Interest in Greed Revolution

A new 30-page report that documents the growing influence of agribusiness on the multilateral food system and the lack of transparency in research funding has been released today by the international civil society organization ETC Group. The Greed : Mega RevolutionFoundations, Agribusiness Muscle In On Public Goods presents three case studies – one involving the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and two involving CGIAR Centers (Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research) – which point to a dangerous trend that will worsen rather than solve the problem of global hunger. The report details the involvement of, among others, Nestlé, Heineken, Monsanto, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Syngenta Foundation.

“It is unacceptable that the UN is giving multinational agribusiness privileged access to alter their agricultural policies,” said Pat Mooney, Executive Director of ETC Group, who has been involved in the field for 40 years. “It is ridiculous that the key organizations responsible for agricultural research have no credible data on the extent of corporate involvement in their work and that CGIAR’s biggest funder – at $89 million – is somebody called, ‘Miscellaneous!’ Governments and UN secretariats have forgotten that their first task is to serve the public – not the profiteers.”

The report shows that multinational corporations are now seeing their future profitability in “emerging economies,” and they are finally taking notice of the international institutions that have been quietly working throughout the global South for half a century. However this new interest in UN agencies is causing “mandate-muddle” as companies demand that policy be rewritten to better reflect their interests, including allowing privileged access to publicly held germplasm. Public institutions are tending to look the other way when Big Ag harms peasant agriculture.

“Public institutions related to food and agriculture are mandated to support the poor and hungry.

Governments need to address the big- and small-scale conflicts of interest, beginning with a long overdue investigation of the links between the international public and private sectors in food and agriculture. Based on our initial conversations with UN officials about this research, we are hopeful that this will happen,”donate concludes Mooney.


For more information:

Pat Mooney, ETC Group (Ottawa), 613 241 2267; cell: +1 613 240 0045

Silvia Ribeiro, ETC Group (Mexico City), 55 5563 2664;  cell: +52 1 55 2653 3330


Veg or Non-Veg? India at Cross Roads a report by Brighter Green

A new policy paper, Veg or Non-Veg? India at the Crossroads (PDF), published by Brighter Green, a New York-based public policy action tank. Using the entry point of climate change, the paper documents the effects of the expansion and intensification of the livestock sector for India’s food security, resource utilization, and issues of equity and sustainability. Through data and analysis, as well as on-the-ground reporting by associate Sangamithra Iyer, Brighter Green explores whether India, with a long vegetarian tradition, a fast-urbanizing and growing population, an expanding middle class, as well as millions of people experiencing food insecurity, can—or should—use its natural capital to produce (and export) more animal products in an increasingly industrial landscape. Our hope is that this detailed research is a valuable contribution to current and future deliberations on the crucial interplay between climate change and food security within India, as well as in the international arena, where industrial animal agriculture is not yet a central topic.


Veg or Non-Veg? India at the Crossroads (PDF), can be read or downloaded online at: 

two-page summary policy brief (PDF) can be read or downloaded online at:


Brighter Green has also produced three short videos to accompany the policy paper:

To watch a short documentary video on climate change and India’s poultry sector, visit:

To watch a two-part documentary video on climate change and India’s dairy and beef sectors, visit:


Additional policy papers and short videos for Brazil, China, and Ethiopia, produced as part of Brighter Green’s Food Policy and Equity Program, are also available, as follows:


·  Cattle, Soyanization, & Climate Change: Brazil’s Agricultural Revolution (PDF). Policy brief available here (PDF):  Video here.

·  Skillful Means: the Challenges of China’s Encounter with Factory Farming (PDF). Policy brief available here (PDF):  Video here.

·  Climate, Food Security, & Growth: Ethiopia’s Complex Relationship with Livestock (PDF). Policy brief available here (PDF):  Video here.



Working Group on NRM and Rainfed Farming for the 12th FYP Major Recommendations

a.    A National Rainfed Farming Agency (NRFA) to be constituted which sets out the new policy framework and provides oversight on all programs in rainfed areas and synthesises learning. The NRAA can be restructured into such an Agency. In addition to the Watershed Development Programs, the Agency shall facilitate  the following three major programs to be taken up under the 12thFYP.

1.      A National Rainfed Farming Program: to be taken up in 1000 blocks across different agro-ecological typologies in rainfed areas. Dedicated agency (selected through a transparent process) is envisaged responsible for planning, convergence of various programs with in the block, integrating and supplementing professional human resources in various programs, support in implementation, monitoring the outputs and capacity building. It ensures consistency of the activities under various programs with the relavant paradigm shift laid out earlier.

The program provides an overarching framework and a (reasonably flexible) allocation pattern for all public investments under the rainfed farming program and under various programs in the block. The working group envisages an investment outlay of Rs.10 crore per block over the 12th plan period with a total outlay of Rs.10,000 crore + 5% facilitation costs at various levels on this National Rainfed Farming Program. In addition, the program will leverage another Rs 40, 000 crore from other programs such NREGA, IWMP, RKVY, NFSM etc.

2.      Creation of ‘Rainfed Investment Windows’ in all relevant mainstream programs of various ministries, with flexibility to follow different guidelines (as may be detailed by the NRFA) for rainfed areas.

3.      Supportive Policy Action’ – Specific budgetary allocations for the Agency to carry out detailed analysis of the policy changes needed for the new paradigm. This is to facilitate such discussion with state governments, provide support in drafting policies (decision about appropriate policy, instruments, policy process and outcome mapping etc.). More importantly, test and monitor new practices and synthesize learnings for larger application during the 13th FYP. The specific purpose is to arrive at an institutional architecture for rainfed areas; devise policies, rules and protocols for diversifying crop patterns, crop-livestock systems, soil fertility, revival and nurturing of commons, extensive protective irrigation, development of markets, etc.


1.      It is also recommended that most of the Special Area Programs under the Ministry of Rural Development to be merged into the Rainfed Program  with provision of special allocation to the Blocks falling under the special programs. It helps to get in place a uniform program architecture and a robust location-specific content for all these programs.

2.      The NRFA evolves comprehensive process guidelines consistent with the new Paradigm detailing the principles and processes of planning, institution development, human resources deployment, strategic areas for action and convergence mechanisms. The Program Architecture envisaged maintains integrity of the respective line departments’ functions and provides for a robust grass-roots convergence mechanism. It will also supposedly reduce the implementation burden of the technical line departments (as the new program will be implemented by Gram Panchayats and Community Based Organisations) and allows them to concentrate on providing technical inputs.

 Organizational Architecture

1.      The Unit of Planning and Implementation for the national program is the development BLOCK. The time frame extends over the plan period i.e. 5 years.

2.      An independent Block Resource Agency whch is selected through a competitive process will provide the overarching lead within the Block. The Agency shall have a mandate to integrate and decide on the content and investment pattern of programs of various line departments operational in the block (under the Rainfed Windows). It also plans, integrates and builds capaciies in human resources deployed.

3.       The Agency will partner with PRIs in implementation and facilitate formation and strengthening of appropriate community-based organizations and producer organisations into a block level  coalition  or consortium, which forms its foundation.

4.      At the District Level revamped and strengthened ATMA with professional teams deployed shall be the nodal organisation. It shall partner with a Strategic Capacity Building Partner organization (sourced by a competitive process), which provides support to the Block Resource Agencies.

5.      At the State Level a mix of SLNA and the steering committee for RKVY shall also provide the oversight. It will partner with a State level Consortium of Resource Organisations with an independent secretariat anchored into one of the support organisation. All the district level strategic community based partner organisations shall be members of this learning alliance/state consortium along with key research institutions.

6.      A Special Rainfed Areas Cell shall be created at the Dept of Agriculture at the state level to anchor the administrative work.

7.      National Rainfed Farming Agency (NRFA) appropriately constituted as a support and learning institution and partnering with Networks of Strategic Support Organisations at the national level can provide overall leadership. Appropriate constitution of the Agency need to be evolved. It may have a ‘Learning Cell’ that synthesises the experiences and provide content leadership. The NRAA may be reconstituted into such an Agency. It is important that the Agency has multiple competencies and draws personnel from Civil Society, bureaucracy and scientific institutions as envisaged in the Apporach Paper.

8.      Independent Research Partnership must be established to monitor the processes and outcomes of the entire programs. An annual ‘Health Monitor’ report on the outcomes need to be prepared for public consumption and debate by such research partners.



Summary Budget Proposals for the 12th Plan recommended by the Working Group



Program Particulars Budget Details


(in Rs. Crores)


National Rainfed Areas Program 1000 blocks x Rs.10 crore per block for 5 years



Separate dispensation for Rainfed areas under various line department programs  



–    Enhanced budgets for various programs and creation of Rainfed Investment Windows (in agriculture, animal husbandry, horticulture, fisheries, ground water, civil supplies) –   To be estimated

–   Approximately



–    Separate window within National Food Security Mission for “Local Food Security Program” for intensive area based agronomic innovations (SRI, NPM and CA) for productivity enhancement of cereals, millets, pulses, edible oilseeds specially for small holder farms. This includes field experimentation on adaptive research. 2.5 million ha x

Rs. 8000 per ha

with an impact area of about 5 million ha)



Supportive Policy Initiatives  (for NRFA)  



–    Promoting farmers’ institutions and re-structuring supportive institutions (ATMA, PRIs etc.) and facilitating enabling legal framework. –    Rs. 4 cr for evolving the framework

–    Actual budgets to be estimated based on the strategy – approximately 500 cr




–    Comprehensive initiative on nutritional security and crop diversification with   inclusion of millets into the PDS as a lead strategy –    Pilot in 100 blocks

–    + special provision under civil supplies for these blocks



–    Commons policy initiatives



–    Extensive support irrigation and participatory groundwater management –    In contiguous   100 ha blocks total targeting 50,000 ha







  • Of the total budgetary allocation, Rs.10,000 cr shall be a dedicated program at the block level; Rs.4000 cr be used to augment the line department’s programs to create separate ‘Rainfed Investment Windows’ in the respective programs and  Rs.1362 (Say Rs.1400 cr) may be allocated for the initiatives to be facilitated by the proposed National Rainfed Farming Agency (reformulation of NRAA)
  • In addition Special Area Programs and specific packages of the RD department should  be integrated into the National Rainfed Areas Program along with their budgets (augmenting the Block level budgets).

Policy Brief on Future Outlook and Options for Target Crops: The Sorghum and Pearl millet economy of India

Policy Brief on Future Outlook and Options for Target Crops: The Sorghum and Pearl millet economy of India download

More  than  60  percent  of  the  area  in  India  is  cultivated  under  arid  and  semiarid conditions  which  provide  around  40  percent  of  the  food  production.  Farmers  here  are exposed  to  harsh  agro  climatic  conditions,  as  they  have  to  cultivate  shallow  and  poor  soils, under  drought  prone  conditions  receiving  low  and  erratic rainfall  below  600  mm.  Recurrent drought  coupled  with  frequent  dry  spells  further  exacerbate  the  situation.  In  the  last  few decades  these  regions  are  facing  a  shrinking  natural  resource  base  and  land  degradation, resulting  in  low  productivity  in  crop  and  livestock  sector.  This  in  turn  is  contributing  to poverty,  malnutrition  and indebtedness  of  small  holder  farm  families.  More  than  70  per cent of the land holdings belong to small and marginal farmers (below 2ha), which is further shrinking  due  to  extensive  subdivision  and  fragmentation  of  holdings  constraining mechanization and scale economies. The resulting drudgery and impoverishment of farmers and farm women are  apparent.

The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture

Managing systems at risk

By 2050, food production is projected to increase by about 70 percent globally and nearly 100 percent in developing countries. This incremental demand for food, together with demand from other competing uses, will place unprecedented pressure on many agricultural production systems across the world. These ‘systems at risk’ are facing growing competition for land and water resources and they are often constrained by unsustainable agricultural practices. They therefore require particular attention and specific remedial action.

The State of the World’s Land and Water Resources for Food and Agriculture (SOLAW) analyses a variety of options for overcoming constraints and improving resource management in these areas of heightened risk. In each location, a mix of changes in institutional and policy measures will have to be combined with greater access to technologies for better management of land and water resources. Increased investments; access to novel financing mechanisms; and international cooperation and development assistance will also help overcome these constraints.

This first issue of SOLAW, which complements other “State of the world” reports published regularly by FAO, is intended to inform public debate and policy-making at national and international levels.