Pacific Food System Outlook Reports

Pacific Food System Outlook reports examine the agricultural outlook of the Pacific Region. The reports were prepared by the Pacific Economic Cooperation Council’s Food and Agriculture Forum, in collaboration with Farm Foundation and USDA’s Economic Research Service. PECC, whose members include 23 economies, is a regional forum promoting economic development in the Asia-Pacific region.

2003-2004: Where Demographics Will Take the Food System reports that demographic changes in the Asia-Pacific region over the next 20 years will generate powerful economic forces that will demand the close attention of food system policymakers. Expanded urban concentration, variability in population growth within the region, and an aging population base will drive substantial change in food production and delivery systems. The region’s total population is expected to increase by 400 million people, though that growth will vary significantly across the region. Offsetting the positive impacts of expanded populations and urbanization, the regions food system will see some negative impact from the aging of the region’s population, which is expected to result in slightly lower per capita food consumption and a shift in the composition of food demand, the economists forecast. This has important implications for producers, processors and retailers. An aging population also has adverse impacts on economic growth, a leading driver of food demand.

2002-2003: Making the Regions Food Supplies Safer includes a call by food industry economists for governments and the private sector to work together to maintain comprehensive databases on food-borne illnesses, support research to prevent contamination, harmonize science -based standards and practices to limit illnesses, and sponsor consumer education to ensure safe handling of food.Strong consumer confidence in the safety of the food supply is crucial to build and maintain an efficient food system in Asia Pacific. The report outlines how the combination of income growth and urbanization have led to increased consumption of perishable products, and a more complex and longer supply chain. This extends the time and distance from farms to markets or restaurants, and increases the potential for food contamination.

2001-2002: Meeting the Challenge of Water Scarcity identified six of the 25 PECC region’s economies, including the United States, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Chinese Taipei and China as facing water scarcity problems due to increasing demand outstripping growth in available supplies. Agriculture takes about two-thirds of the water used in the PECC region, and must compete with the fast pace of economic growth and urbanization in the region. The report recommended that the emerging risk of water shortages for food production be addressed by immediate policy action, rather than waiting for serious problems to develop.

2000-2001:  The Role of New Technologies offered an economy-by-economy review of the use of new food system technologies, including the use of biotech crops and information technology. It concluded that the key to success will be the skill and vision with which the Pacific economies implement new technologies in the interests of producers and consumers alike.


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