Southeast and South Asian regions are home to more than 30% of the world’s population; half the world’s poor and malnourished, with a full 500 million residing in these regions. For most countries in these regions agriculture is the cornerstone of their economy, the basis of economic growth and the main source of people’s livelihood. N early 50% of the population of some countries depends on the agricultural sector for food and livelihood , in which agriculture is considered as one of the most vulnerable sectors to climate change.
The IPCC 4th Assessment Report states South East Asia is annually affected by climate extremes, particularly rise in temperatures, floods, droughts and tropical cyclones, while large areas of the region are highly prone to flooding and influenced by unpredictable monsoon onsets. Such climatic impacts will severely threaten the livelihood of poor people living in rural areas with limited adaptive capacity. Water availability for agriculture in the region will also be affected by changes in the amount and pattern of rainfall and subsequently, water scarcity and/or excess water for crop production. A high sensitivity of major cereal and other food crops to changes in temperature, moisture, and carbon dioxide concentration of magnitude are scientifically documented. The increased climatic variability in the future would further increase production variability. Producing enough food for the increasing population against a background of decreasing resources and a changing climate scenario is a challenging task.
Consumer perceptions about health and food quality benefits associated with crops produced under low input production systems are major reasons for the increase in demand for low input or organic foods. However, the price premium for crop products is the main factor detrimental to expansion of organic food consumption. In addition, there are technological bottlenecks in low input crop production systems, which potentially affect yield, quality and safety of low input and organic foods.
There is a clear need to bring these different issues together for consideration, further development and dissemination at the regional level. This workshop seeks to gather experts from the fields of crop production, crop and soil management, crop protection, plant breeding and crop plant biotechnology in order to stimulate answers to these issues.