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South Asia needs to accelerate sustainability efforts on food, nutrition security: agro expert

The expert championed the need for innovation and climate-smart food systems to sustainably feed the world.

February 18, 2024 2:45 pm

Abbas Uddin Noyon: Agribusiness and industry leaders said that with the growing population and rising temperatures, South Asia needs to accelerate its efforts in addressing the impact of climate change on the region’s food and nutrition security.

They expressed the comments at the Soybean Export Council (USSEC)’s annual Sustainasummit 2024 conference held in Dubai on Thursday.

The discussions of this event revolved around smart conservation initiatives, sustainable agricultural practices, and groundbreaking progress in food cultivation, production, distribution, and consumption.

Mentioned the World Bank data they said South Asia is experiencing a “new climate normal” which is referred to as unpredictable weather including heat waves, cyclones, droughts, and floods.

Hammad Naqi Khan, chief executive officer of the World Wide Fund for Nature –Pakistan said future food and nutrition security challenges for South Asia due to climate vulnerability.

“The production of 15 commodities like palm oil, soy and beef production is significantly impacted by biodiversity, water, and climate. So we need to have smart and sustainable production systems in agriculture and industry.”

“Today’s global consumers are increasingly vocal about their desire for sustainable products and greater transparency in raw material sourcing” added Deeba Giannoulis, Regional Head of US Soy marketing and sustainability at USSEC.

She said Sustainasummit represents our commitment to establishing comprehensive sustainability standards across industries, enabling businesses to procure resources responsibly.

For instance, the ‘Fed with Sustainable US Soy’ label, endorsed by eleven poultry companies in Sri Lanka, is just one example of our efforts. This initiative ensures adherence to the stringent US Soy Sustainability Assurance Protocol, guaranteeing sustainable practices in areas such as biodiversity and production methods of US Soy Farmers.

Addressing the potential of science to achieve food security, Dr Mahaletchumy Arujanan, Executive Director of the Malaysian Biotechnology Information Centre added “Science provides the solution to reduce the footprint created by the agriculture industry by reducing greenhouse gases, increasing productivity, responsibly using chemicals, reducing waste and optimising the use of resources. It also supports food security and boosts the economy.

Reflecting on US Soy’s lowest carbon footprint compared to soy from other origins, Abby Rinne, Director of sustainability at USSEC stated, “Our farmers are committed to continuous improvement. This includes reducing total greenhouse gas emissions and land use by 10% while increasing energy efficiency by 10%.

US Soy farmers are leading the way by producing more while using fewer resources, implementing farming practices that reduce carbon footprint, and are helping in preserving forestland.” She added.

Kevin Roepke, Regional Director, South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa at USSEC emphasised the need for building climate resilient food systems.

He added, “With USSEC’s Sustainasummit, we aim to ignite strategic dialogue among the food and agribusinesses about the importance of using sustainable ingredients such as US Soy to develop a robust global food system. We are positioned to sustainably meet South Asia’s growing demand for protein through a high nutritional bundle and reliable supply.

During Sustainasummit, there was a noteworthy celebration as two more US Soy customers from Sri Lanka; Imo Chicken and Agro Private Ltd and Fortune Agro Industries Pvt. Ltd signed licensing agreements to adopt the ‘Fed with Sustainable US Soy’ label on their packaging.

Supported by the Illinois Soybean Association, Iowa Soybean Association, and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Sustainasummit 2024 hosted compelling conversations with industry thought leaders, including; Stan Born, USSEC’s Chairman, Suzanne Shirbroun, President, Iowa Soybean Association, Kirk Leeds, CEO, Iowa Soybean Association, Brent Swart, President-Elect, Iowa Soybean Association, Puneet Tomar, Global Project Manager at Euromonitor International, Sameera Fernandes, Director Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Century Financial, Sohel Tanvir Khan, Business Director at ACI Logistics Ltd (Shwapno) of Bangladesh, Sanjeev Astana, and CEO at Patanjali of India.

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