The use of genetically modified crops can also aid governments to reduce net food imports and become more self-sufficient, the note added. The authors pointed to data by the International Service for the Acquisition of AgriBiotech Applications (ISAAA) that showed an average 68 percent increase in incomes and profits for 18 million small farmers who adopted biotech crops during 1995-2014.
Increased collaboration between the public and private sectors is also needed, such as agribusiness initiatives, to help small farmers towards entrepreneurship, the note said. These initiatives can be partnerships between international organizations, companies, government agencies and the ASEAN Secretariat, starting with corporate social responsibility projects and leading to strong business alignments, it explained.
The use of farm insurance to protect incomes of farmers from the devastating effects of drought is also essential, Biswas warned, referring to the rampant issue of farmer suicides across ASEAN nations.
On a brighter note, the region's ambitious economic integration program, known as the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC), is expected to herald fresh potential for food security solutions.
"Where successful, AEC mechanisms can create sustainable food systems and reduce environmental stresses through best-practice collaboration, improving research, and creating trade links that allow countries to play to better develop their natural capital," explained Jackson Ewing, director of Asian Sustainability at non-profit think tank Asia Society Policy Institute, in a report last week.
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