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Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition • FSN Forum

Re: Mainstreaming biodiversity in agriculture, fisheries and forestry for improved food security and better nutrition

Andrea Polo Galante

Dear Moderator and colleagues,

I would like to add some thoughts to contribute with this rich discussion:

We are convinced that diversifying and improving diets are essential to human health and nutrition. We also know that the world is facing hunger, undernutrition, stunting, obesity, heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure and all these issues are connected in some ways with the malnutrition. On the other hand, diets are becoming more and more monotonous, less diversified, based on a limited number of crops such as rice, maize, sugar, oil, wheat, soya and other. An important issue to be discussed is how consumers and farmers in general and especially those poorly educated understand food diversification.

The food industries are using these few crops to create different food products /ultra processed food with the same ingredients , different appearance and different taste with a lot of added artificial colors and additives. These products have very attractive taste as well and can give consumers the idea that they have a diversified diet, that they are not eating the same thing. Consumers still need to be educated and convinced that these industrialized food products (ultra processed foods) do not necessarily contribute to their diet diversification. Furthermore, these ultra processed foods have very low cost and compete with local products and diversified crops.

Biodiversity brings us the possibility to review the food production and consumption, to reshape the local food systems with crops and crop varieties, thus to improve the diets. Nonetheless it is also necessary to transform crops to semi processed and processed foods that the ordinary population desire and feel prepared to include them in their daily consumption, Biodiversity is a window of opportunity to create a new diet culture and contribute to food security and better nutrition.