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.

2 July 2013

UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD PRESS RELEASE
A policy known as sustainable intensification could help meet the challenges of increasing demands for food from a growing global population, argues a team of scientists in an article in the journal Science.

24 June 2013

This video from the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), features ILRI director general Jimmy Smith talking on the role of livestock in the global development agenda.

The 13 minute film points out that 4 of the top 5 agricultural commodities by value are livestock, and that in Africa, 4 of the top 10 agricultural commodities are livestock which indicates the importance of livestock for the global food and poverty agenda.  The presentation also considers the challenges posed by rising demand for meat.

24 June 2013

Cassava is a "survivor" crop, able to thrive in the expected higher temperatures caused by climate change. An alliance of scientists has recently been formed to help promote cassava cultivation. The 300 scientists attending the second International Scientific Conference of the Global Cassava Partnership for the 21st Century, held in Kampala Uganda presented a new initiative called Global Cassava Modelling Consortium. The Consortium aims to help researchers share information on this increasingly important crop, to better understand the physiology of the plant and to explore avenues for protecting it from attacks.

24 June 2013

Yet another paper adding to the growing body of evidence that productionist approaches to addressing food security challenges are unlikely to be sufficient (at least not without unacceptable environmental cost).  Shifts towards more plant based diets and measures to address food waste are also needed.

18 June 2013

On June 8 2013, the UK government granted £30 million to HarvestPlus to develop and deliver six biofortified crops to several million farming households in Africa and Asia.

10 June 2013

Maternal and child undernutrition was the subject of a Series of papers in The Lancet in 2008. Five years after the initial series, the Lancet re-evaluates the problems of maternal and child undernutrition and also examines the growing problems of overweight and obesity for women and children, and their consequences in low-income and middle-income countries.

30 May 2013

In this book Michael S. Carolan argues that the goal of any food system should not simply be to provide the cheapest calories possible. Rather, a secure food system is one that affords people and nations – in both the present and future – the capabilities to prosper and lead long, happy, and healthy lives. For a variety of reasons, food security has come to be synonymous with cheap calorie security. 

21 May 2013

Beginning in 2007, the world has suffered three rounds of high food prices. These crises were caused by a variety of factors—from extreme weather events to civil conflict—but poor policies by affected countries exacerbated the problem, according to an expert on the subject who spoke at IFPRI last week.

8 May 2013

A new special issue on food security has been published in the Journal of Rural Studies. It provides a rural social science contribution to the food security debate. The papers focus on food security in the UK, Australia, New Zealand, the USA and Italy.

15 April 2013

Louise Fresco provides an overview of historical and future food security trends in her speech at the 200th commemorative meeting of the Royal Swedish Academy of Agriculture and Forestry entitled Food, scarcity and abundance.

25 March 2013

The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) has published its 2012 Food policy report. Its main arguments are as follows: In 2012, world food security remained vulnerable. Progress in the fight against hunger and malnutrition has been piecemeal, at best, and levels remain unacceptably high, with 870 million people hungry and 2 billion suffering from micronutrient deficiencies.

18 March 2013

A new study suggests that enriching crops by adding a naturally-occurring soil mineral to fertilisers could potentially help to reduce disease and premature death in Malawi. Dietary deficiency of the mineral selenium plays a vital role in keeping the immune system healthy and fighting illness and is likely to be endemic among the Malawi population.

11 March 2013

Plantwise is an initiative, led by CABI, to improve food security and the lives of the rural poor by reducing crop losses. Plantwise has been initiated to help developing countries set up and run community based plant clinics staffed by ‘plant doctors’ that deliver free plant health advice to farmers.

29 January 2013

A new FCRN article – “Food sustainability: problems, perspectives and solutions” –  has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society.

24 January 2013

The latest issue of the journal Proceedings of the Nutrition Society features a number of articles related to food, nutrition, and sustainability (including one by the FCRN’s founder, Tara Garnett).

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