Columbia International Affairs Online: Policy Briefs

CIAO DATE: 06/2011

Food Production and Environmental Health in Southeast Asia: The Search for Complementary Strategies

J. Jackson Ewing

May 2011

Centre for Non-Traditional Security (NTS) Studies


Growing food demands and escalating environmental stresses create a series of challenges throughout Southeast Asia. Projected population and consumption patterns strongly suggest that food production will have to increase markedly in the coming decades to avoid a reduction in the quality of life and pronounced food insecurities in various parts of the region. Efforts to increase food production may in turn place greater stress on vital environmental systems and cause a range of negative and lasting corollary effects. Such a scenario is far from inevitable, however, and many tools are already in existence that can help the region concurrently achieve greater food producing capacities and the environmental conditions necessary to sustain future social progress. This policy brief offers analyses that address how such a future can be attained, and presents recommendations for those in search of complementary environmental and food production strategies.