Deuxième Conférence internationale sur la nutrition (CIN2), 19-21 novembre 2014

Linking Nutrition and Agrobiodiversity

Gudrun B. Keding and Bruce Cogill

It is already known that a lack of diversity is a crucial issue, particularly in the developing world where diets consist of starchy staples to a great extent with less nutrient-rich foods such as animal source food, fruits and vegetables being available, accessible or known to be important for a balanced diet. At the same time it is acknowledged that the consumption of a variety of foods across and within food groups almost guarantees adequate intake of essential nutrients and important non-nutrient factors. Still, it is not well understood how agricultural systems and the benefits derived from agrobiodiversity affect nutritional quality, consumption patterns, and nutrition and health status, in particular of people in the developing world. A study in Tanzania showed that a direct link between production and consumption of cultivated traditional vegetables exists; however, this link did not exist for exotic vegetables, usually bought from markets, and also not for wild vegetables which highlights the importance of taking the sources of foods into consideration. Among study participants in Tanzania the amount of vegetables consumed decreased with increasing diversity in the diet suggesting that other food groups, being less nutritious such as beverages and sugar, increased the dietary diversity and replaced partly the vegetables in the diet. Consequently, different forms of an increase in dietary diversity must be distinguished and next to reviewing dietary diversity scores for measuring dietary adequacy further determinants of sustainable diets, namely cultural acceptability, accessibility and environmental sustainability, should be considered when linking nutrition and agriculture.