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Director General  José Graziano da Silva

Agricultural biodiversity, crucial for healthy diets

Talks with Bioversity International Director-General

21 June 2017, Rome – Ways in which agricultural biodiversity can help achieve healthier and more diverse diets and help feeding future generations were the focus of discussions between Bioversity International Director-General, Ann Tutwiler, and FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva today.

“There is a lot of scientific evidence that says that in order to combat both poor diets in developing countries where people may not have enough nutrients but also poor diets in the richer countries where obesity is a problem, you need to have a diverse diet,” Tutwiler said in remarks following the meeting, noting that last year the WHO declared poor diets as the world’s number one health threat.

“A healthy diet means eating fruits, vegetables, nuts and healthy grains, and as a world we are under producing those foods, so agricultural biodiversity can help increase the consumption of these healthier foods,” she added.

Both stressed that biodiversity is key to building resilient and sustainable food systems and helping smallholders to adapt to climate change, fight pests and diseases, and use less agricultural inputs.

They discussed the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition project, which works to conserve and revive nutritious traditional plants and include them in diets for better health, which is being implemented in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

Graziano da Silva and Tutwiler also reviewed potential and current areas of collaboration, which include agroecology, neglected and underutilized crops, indigenous and traditional food systems, and the launch next year of the flagship report State of the World Biodiversity for Food and Agriculture.

Watch her remarks: