Future Food in Future Asias (3/3)

Dr Graeme MacRae2, Associate Professor Sita Venkateswar2, Dr. Alison Booth3, Ms Perzen Patel, Dr. Nancy Pollock5, Dr Sophie Chao6

1Panjab University, Chandigarh, India, 2Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, 3Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand, 4Independent, Auckland, New Zealand, 5Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand, 6Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia

Chair: Dr Graeme MacRae


World food security is likely to become more critical in the future, with hunger on the rise again. Asia is where the world’s futures will manifest most rapidly, clearly and critically.

While much of the region’s food is produced by small farmers for subsistence and local markets, industrialisation and commercialisation of food production is increasingly rapidly. Multinational food corporations are penetrating deeply into national and local food systems across Asia. Local economies, ecologies and communities are being transformed by these changes.

Governments across Asia are concerned about food security and trying to anticipate the future. But they are torn three ways – between deeply embedded traditions and ideologies of self-sufficiency; global pressures for bio-technical innovations to boost production and market-led approaches to boost productivity and food sector growth; and popular movements for food sovereignty and food justice grounded in local communities, ecologies, revived traditional methods and internationally inspired organic and agro-ecological production and distributions systems. But this dominant focus on eco/bio/technical and economic dimensions of food security obscures the ongoing social and cultural embedment of food.

This panel will explore how Food Futures across Asia play out in diverse ways between these rapidly changing forces and processes.


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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