Sunday, July 15, 2012

East Asia to dictate global food, agri mart by 2040

Manila, Philippines - Academicians believe that by 2040, global demand for food and agriculture products will be dictated by the rapidly-changing eating patterns of East Asian countries China, Japan and South Korea, therefore giving Filipino farmers the opportunity to take advantage of the market.

During a recently-concluded forum held by the Los Baños-based Southeast Asian Regional Center for Graduate Study and Research in Agriculture (SEARCA) and the Department of Agriculture (DA), academicians said that China, a rising superpower with a large population, would have a huge impact on global demand for food and agriculture products.

“In 2040, the global food and agriculture market will be heavily shaped by Chinese preferences, needs and developments,” said Dr. Rolando Dy, executive director, Center for Food and Agri Business, University of Asia and the Pacific (UA&P).

Academicians, citing the Food East Asia 2040 report released this year by the US Grains Council, said changing food preferences in East Asia are influenced by rising incomes, a growing middle class, rapid urbanization, volatile food and commodity prices, as well as climate change.

“Top decision-makers at the DA ought to continually keep abreast of these developments,” said Dr. Gil C. Saguiguit Jr., director of SEARCA.

“This is vital to reshaping the country’s agribusiness future and also bringing farm incomes to higher levels and expanding rural markets by reducing rural poverty,” he added.

Dy said that as China streamlines its food and agriculture system, it will “reshape and redefine” global agribusiness, biotechnology, food processing, logistics and trade.

“It will be an enormous opportunity for Filipino farmers… East Asian markets will belong to suppliers whose customers trust them because of the safety, quality and identity of their food,” he said.

Dy said that Japan, where demand for takeaway food is strong, would provide plenty of trade opportunitirs for farmers in East Asia because by 2040 more than 70 percent of food in that country may be prepared outside homes.

“Its entire food system, from farm to fork, will be impacted by the shift away from home cooking,” he said.

He said that between now and 2040, successful food industry players would be those that anticipate and adapt to intense competition, especially now that the East Asian market is a leading global player in science-based, functional food preparations.

“East Asia’s future elderly, raised more Western-minded than previous generations, will be a key market for these enhanced foods,” said Dy. “Commodity growers can support these diets by growing crops that provide specific health benefits.”

In terms of distribution, restaurants, food service chains, convenience stores and food retailers would become major players in the food system.

“Radical new technologies to produce, protect, preserve, test, deliver and prepare food will proliferate. Competition to serve highly differentiated markets will be fierce,” said Dy.-The Philippine Star (July 15, 2012)

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