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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Eradicating extreme poverty: what is the role of agriculture?

Kevin Gallagher
Kevin GallagherFuture of Agriculture (Asia)Mongolia

In Mongolia, the Nutrition Status of the Population of Mongolia Report (2017, Ministry of Health, UNICEF and National Centre for Public Health – see www.unicef.org/mongolia/NNS_V_undsen_tailan_eng.pdf) food insecurity is 64.7% and closely correlated with poverty quintiles. Vitamin D, vitamin A and iron are insufficient or deficient (especially vit. D). Obesity and overweightness is high and increasing. ADRA, IFAD, WB and other organizations in Mongolia have introduced diverse vegetable production to complement traditional “meat, milk and wheat” diets of nomadic pastoral culture. However, as the late Dr. Iftikhar in Pakistan noted, the “ruralization of the city” brings traditional culture to urban sedentary life where “junk food and drinks” add to the problems now being faced with infant/mother deficiencies, diabetes and other non-contagious diseases.

So yes, agriculture can help provide affordable diverse diets. But it is clear that media campaigns on TV, newspaper or with leaders/personalities are essential to promote culture change in line with the emerging lifestyles.

Kevin Gallagher/Future of Agriculture Virtual Think Tank in Mongolia