Forward Thinking for ICT use in Asian Agri-food Chains

[LAST UPDATE: A SUMMARY  OF THE E-DISCUSSION IS AVAILABLE HERE ON THE WEB AND HERE AS A PDF TO DOWNLOAD.]

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The E-discussion will span about 3 Weeks starting August 13th – Ending September 5th 2014.

Background   |   Facilitators

Asian agriculture and food chains (agri-food chains) are rapidly evolving to meet local, national, regional and international markets’ needs. These needs include providing easily accessible, affordable, safe, nutritious, healthy, quality food and economically viable industrial feedstock, both produced ethically in globally competitive markets within their own countries and for export.

Asian agri-food chains are already complex in their geographic coverage, sourcing, variety etc, and they are increasingly becoming more complex. Within each country in Asia, as they improve incomes and quality of life, issues of food inflation, affordability, quality, safety, nutrition and health have emerged. While all Asia countries strive to increase production, productivity and profit from farming and trade in agricultural commodities, they also have to now even within their own domestic markets compete with global markets. This competition is not only of price but also of assured safety and quality. In China, there is significant distrust, after the surfacing of several cases of food adulteration, of its agri-food chains. In India, inefficiencies in agri-food chains have resulted at one hand huge amounts of wastage of food and at the other end high food inflation and food becoming unaffordable to the poor. India also suffers the same distrust of its agri-food chains as in China. Many other countries in Asia have similar issues including the more developed countries such as Japan.

Asian countries trade in large quantities of food and other agricultural commodities. The region imports corn, soya, wheat, processed foods, cotton etc., and are also exporters of rice, edible oil, wheat, fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, cotton etc. The international market is both within the Asia region and across regions. This participation in international markets entails significant trans-boundary flows of information along with the commodity and finance. The information, in addition to that needed commercially, also needs to inform and assure that the food is not only safe but produced as per internationally accepted standards for production, quality and hygiene. Increasingly, agricultural commodities are also required to assure that they are ethically produced. As Asian countries, notably China, South Korea, Malaysia, Japan and India enter into the International processed food markets, the demands on information systems that support agri-food chains and those related to these chains will increase significantly.

What will Agri-Food Chains in Asia be like in the future (2020-2030)? 

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