Food value chain transformations in developing countries - Selected hypotheses on nutritional implications
ESA Working Paper No. 13-05
We examine how the transformation of food value chains (FVCs) influence the triple malnutrition burden (undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies and over-nutrition) in developing countries. We propose a FVC typology (modern, traditional, modern-to-traditional, and traditional-to-modern) that takes into account the participants, the target market, and the products offered. Next, we propose selected hypotheses on the relationship between each FVC category and elements of the triple malnutrition burden. The primary finding is that the transformation of FVCs creates challenges and opportunities for nutrition in developing countries. For example, Modern FVCs may increase over-nutrition problems and alleviate micronutrient deficiencies for urban people with relatively high incomes. However, they have little nutritional impacts among rural residents and urban poor people, who primarily depend on traditional FVCs to access adequate quantities of calories and micronutrients. In addition, modern food manufacturers are leveraging traditional distribution networks (modern-to-traditional FVCs), substantially increasing access to low-priced processed/packaged foods in rural areas and low-income urban neighbors with mixed impacts on the triple burden of malnutrition. Further research should focus on the influence of FVC transformation on reduction of micronutrient deficiencies, on modeling demand substitution effects across food categories and the attendant policy implications for malnutrition.
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