Knowledge for better food systems

Showing results for: Food security and nutrition

In 1996, the World Food Summit stated that food security ‘exists when all people, at all times, have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.’ This definition encompasses four key elements: 1) the physical availability of food, 2) the legal, political, economic and social arrangements which assure access to food, 3) the ability to utilise food through adequate diet, clean water, sanitation and health care to reach a state of nutritional well-being, and 4) the stability of all these factors across time. Today, just under 800 million people are undernourished. Compounding this problem, changing dietary patterns (sometimes referred to as the ‘nutrition transition’) brought on by the processes of globalisation mean that, obesity is also now a growing problem, and many developing and emerging countries now find themselves presented with a ‘double burden’ of poor nutrition. Over 2 billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese and most of these are to be found in middle and low income countries simply because their populations are so great. Overlapping with these numbers some 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies (most commonly of iron, vitamin A and iodine) which causes physical and cognitive problems, particularly in children and women of childbearing age.

24 January 2013

The UN’s Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) has released their annual flagship publication on the theme “Investing in agriculture for a better future”. The report says that farmers are the largest investors in developing country agriculture and argues, therefore, that farmers and their investment decisions must be central to any strategy aimed at improving agricultural investment.  However, they need a favourable climate for agricultural investment based on economic incentives and an enabling environment. 

15 January 2013

The journal Animal Frontiers is running a two-part series on livestock and food security. The first installment (second installment to run in July) covers a range of issues, including: the role of animal (including fish) production in food security in developing countries,  trade in livestock products; the links between animal product consumption and chronic diseases; pastoralism; and livestock breeding.

26 November 2012

Continuing with this theme, EurActiv.com posted an article, “EU’s food imports pose ‘tricky balance’ for hungry Africans,” which discusses the difficulty of creating economic development and food security throughout Africa. A drought that hit East Africa in 2011 exposed this difficulty as European markets had plentiful supplies of African agricultural exports. In fact, the EU imports 40% of Sub-Saharan Africa’s agricultural exports. 

19 November 2012

This policy note by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) calls for governments to prioritize policies and actions and invest substantially in efforts to address the needs of their malnourished populations. Despite the importance of adequate nutrition for economic and social development, few countries have given nutrition issues high priority in national policy-making processes and resultant policies. This policy note reviews individual developing countries’ nutrition policies, highlights examples of countries that have successfully included nutrition in their development agendas, and concludes by outlining the rationale for making malnutrition reduction a policy priority, together with policy recommendations. 

12 November 2012

The Politics of Land and Food Scarcity, by Paolo De Castro, Felice Adinolfi, Fabian Capitanio, Salvatore Di Falco, and Angelo Di Mambro, provides an overview of the new global challenges connected with land, food supply, and agriculture. 

2 November 2012

In One Billion Hungry: Can We Feed The World?, Gordon Conway explains the many interrelated issues critical to our global food supply from the science of agricultural advances to the politics of food security. He emphasises the essential combination of increased food production, environmental stability, and poverty reduction necessary to end endemic hunger on our planet.

2 November 2012

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) recently produced an infographic on the food security implications of meat consumption, including health and nutrition, biodiversity and climate risks, and impact on poverty.

To view it, click here.

25 October 2012

India’s Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation recently released the report Children in India 2012, which found that child malnutrition is so severe in India that 48% of children under five are stunted. Moreover, 19.8% of children in the same age group suffer from acute malnutrition, as evidenced by wasting.

The full report can be found here.

25 October 2012

The 2012 Global Hunger Index (GHI) report—the seventh in an annual series prepared by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)—presents a multidimensional measure of global, regional, and national hunger.

25 October 2012

The State of Food Insecurity in the World 2012 presents new estimates of undernourishment based on a revised and improved methodology. The new estimates show that progress in reducing hunger during the past 20 years has been better than previously believed, and that, given renewed efforts, it may be possible to reach the MDG hunger target at the global level by 2015. However, the number of people suffering from chronic undernourishment is still unacceptably high, and eradication of hunger remains a major global challenge.

25 October 2012

This paper, published in Agriculture & Food Security, discusses the links between agriculture and climate change and considers how agriculture could contribute to global efforts to address both adaptation and mitigation. 

14 October 2012

This is a very interesting take on rural food security from CGIAR guest bloggers, Matthew Fielding, Swedish International Agricultural Network Initiative and Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and Tom Gill, SEI. 

14 October 2012

Compassion in World Farming recently published a report entitled Nutritional Benefits Of Higher Welfare Animal Products, which compiled data from 76 studies based on the topic. A literature review was conducted in order to examine the evidence for a range of nutritional benefits of higher-welfare animal products. 

24 September 2012

This report, entitled “Feeding a thirsty world: Challenges and opportunities for a water and food secure world”, was published by the Stockholm International Water Institute as its official input into the discussions at the 2012 World Water Week in Stockholm on August 26-31 2012.

13 August 2012

This book deals with three main food issues in Australia: equity and access to nutritious diets, food production and trade, and the relevance of land use planning for the long-term viability of food production,  articularly around major Australian cities.

24 July 2012

The Food Climate Research Network and the Oxford Martin Programme on the Future of Food have jointly published a new report entitled: Sustainable intensification in agriculture. Navigating a course through competing food system priorities.

2 July 2012

The High Level Panel of Experts for the Committee on World Food Security have published a report on food security and climate change.

13 April 2012

This report by the Commission on Sustainable Agriculture and Climate Change (CCAFS) reviews the scientific evidence to identify a pathway to achieving food security in the context of climate change. It says that food systems must shift to better meet human needs and, in the long term, balance with planetary resources. 

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