I would like to make the following contribution to the current discussion. It is an example of how civil society, using social business as a vehicle, can make useful and sustainable contributions to improve nutrition in the rural areas where it is needed most.
"Civil Society Contribution to Improve Nutrition – An Example
- submitted by Malnutrition Matters (www.malnutrition.org) Sept 2013
Malnutrition Matters (MM) is a Canadian-registered non-profit, founded in the year 2000. MM is committed to alleviating malnutrition by creating sustainable micro-enterprises in rural areas, which are centered on local processing to provide affordable food with increased protein and micronutrients. MM has helped establish over 240 sites worldwide to produce soymilk from local soybeans. The large majority of these sites use equipment that does not require electricity or running water, and which can provide supplemental protein-rich nutrition for 1,000 people or more per day, at the cost of about 4 cents a cup. Each one-cup serving (or 250 ml) contains 7 g of whole protein, which is less than half of the cost of dairy milk. The MM sites serve over 150,000 beneficiaries daily. Locally made soymilk is the most cost-effective way to provide micro-nutrient fortified whole protein to rural populations, where often over 50% of the children are malnourished, with protein and micro-nutrient deficiencies often the most acute. Capital cost for the equipment is less than $5,000 per site and sites typically become self-sufficient in less than one year.
The majority of these sites have been developed with other civil society partners, some of which are listed below. MM itself is a sustainable social business, with less than 20% of revenue from sponsorships.
MM has also recently established over solar food drying 20 sites. These sites use solar-only food driers to dry up to 30kg of food (such as tomato, mango, peppers, guava, papaya, fish) per day, per unit. This increases food security by enabling part of the harvest to be preserved in simple plastic bags for up to one year, rather than having surplus harvest rot. The SolarFlex dryer capital cost is $1,400 per unit.
MM’s partners include :
- African Development Bank (Ghana)
- Alpro NV (Belgium)
- Humana People to People (Malawi, Mozambique)
- OIC International / USAID (Liberia)
- TSBF/CIAT (Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda)
- World Bank Development Marketplace
- World Concern / ZOA / EU (Myanmar)
Please visit www.malnutrition.org to see YouTube videos of various sites in action.
Bonjour Mr Etienne
Je suis avec intérêt le forum actuellement en ligne dont vous assurez la modération.
veuillez trouver en attaché le rapport CILSS sur la tracasserie routière. Cela m'amène à dire, que le gros travail que doit mener les privés c'est d'abord le plaidoyer pour supprimer ces taxes illicites afin faciliter l'investissement dans divers domaine (approvisionnement, investissement agricole, commercialisation...). Les taxes licites et illicites rendent chères les produits aux consommateurs, et du coût augmentent la pauvreté et la malnutrition. Pendant ce temps les douaniers, policiers et gendarmes accumulent beaucoup de richesses puisées de ces pratiques au su et vu des autorités politiques. Il faut un sursaut national et international des privés, gouvernement et société civile pour combattre ces pratiques et afin de rehausser les économies et la nutrition.
Projet de sécurité Alimentaire au Niger ARZIKI /CLUSA
Kindly see two newsletters 1/ 2 in which we have written about our work with regard to food/nutrition security from a civil society perspective. Please feel free to contact us if there is any question.
· Policy issues:
We need to look at the rural producer orgs/ company (PC) staffed by professionals (general practitioners [GPs] and MBAs in agriculture) playing the role of the private sector and assisted by civil society for designing and implementing bottom up policies that ensures nutrition through agriculture, following the local integrated low cost agriculture systems and creating human and institutional capacity and filling the knowledge gaps among the women, men and youth, docs attached coverring Policy, Programmes, Governance and Partnerships.
· Programme issues:
Document the successful models, contracting these farmers for wide replication in the area assisted by the PC (private sector) and civil society in following integrated nutrition-enhancing community assisted agriculture and food systems programmes at country level and the PC responsible for monitoring the impact on food consumption and reduction of hunger, malnutrition, poverty and effect of climate change whilst improving livelihoods and net incomes.
NARES, CGIAR, PCs (private sector), CSO/ NGOs, will all need to work as a team and as equal partners, focused on AR4D for meeting the needs of the rural producer communities, from seed to harvest, finance, value addition, infrastructure, marketing/ logistics, etc.,if we are to ensure building effective and sustainable governance mechanisms related food systems and nutrition through agriculture.
Governments, NARES and the CGIAR are mostly urban based and thus it is the contribution of the local successful farmers, PC (private sector) and civil society, mostly working across sectors and building strong linkages with rural producer communities, covering nutritious food and agriculture, social protection, employment, health, education and other key sectors, model available at:
First of all, l would like to thank all the contributors to this discussion for their very valuable inputs and reflections. Let me also remind those who have not contributed yet that this discussion will be on-going until Thursday next week and that your contributions are still expected and very much welcome!
What strikes me particularly is how much the contributions received so far are illustrating a great diversity of points of view and opinions, which is a real strength of this forum. In particular, the discussion and the examples raised have clearly underlined the greatest diversity and heterogeneity of actors that one can find inside each of the two groups “civil society” and “private sector”.
The main differences between civil society and private sector have been rightly reminded: they have different goals, methods, principles, constituency, audience, public or targets, etc. That said, many contributions have shared positive examples of good collaboration between civil society and private sector, where joint projects are able to maximize the added-value and contribution of each side, in order to raise levels of nutrition.
Others have made it clear that in many cases, the role of civil society organisations and private sector actors are very different and sometimes opposed. As Claudio Schuftan puts it: on nutrition, all actors must work “but only sometimes together and sometimes in sharp opposition”. In particular, the role of civil society organisations to work with or to lobby governments “to come with policies to regulate private sector” based on the experience and inputs of communities “in order to drive the private sector towards responsive practices to community needs” has been underlined by both Eileen Omosa and Monica A. Hernandez. The role of civil society actors to closely monitor (and denounce, if need be) the practices of private sector (such as in the case of aggressive food marketing that threatens nutritious diets) as well as government policies (example of iron supplementation to pregnant women in India) has also been illustrated.
Overall, this variety of actors and the huge diversity of the contexts remind us that, in the fight against malnutrition, there are many different models of collaboration and partnerships within and between civil society and private sector, with both positive and negative aspects. In particular, there is no one-size-fits-all or “silver bullet” form of “public-private partnerships” but each experience needs to be assessed by all the concerned stakeholders: in this, transparency and accountability to citizens and communities, in particular the poor and most marginalized people, is key, especially from a civil society perspective.
The framework of this discussion (with both civil society organisations and private sector actors invited to participate in the same discussion) might have orientated the contributions to focus more on examples of interaction or joint work involving both civil society and private sector. But of course, contributions on the respective roles and works of one or the other are also very much welcome.
Looking forward to reading more in the next few days,
Can partnerships work?
In the first week of the discussion, we have seen both faith and scepticism about the role of private sector and civil society. Occasionally, there has been a falling into old habits that the discussion is a “for” and “against” model.
Overarchingly, it seems there is an understanding of the need for both, as exemplified by Kuruppacharil V.Peter, World Noni Research Foundation, India: “Without the active involvement of civil society and private sector, the whole exercise will be ineffective.”
Coalitions like Farming First, cited in Maria Antip’s submission contain a broad range of stakeholders from smallholder farmers to scientists, business to NGOs and has done a lot to promote the importance of women in agriculture, climate change adaptation, and the links between nutrition and food security. Other contributors have been able to cite in-country programs for school feeding and farmer supply.
Working together on policy making breeds a more integrated approach to challenges and better outcomes, as described by UGAgri Group7, University of Guyana, Guyana: “A partnership between the elements of civil society and the private sector- where it is possible- should strive to create channels for agricultural policymaking and dialogue between all stakeholders in general, and small farm owners in particular. Simultaneously, they need to collaborate to facilitate, enable and drive agricultural research on nutrition and to push for meaningful policies and decisions to be derived from this body of research and information.”
Seeing the continuity between the actors in the debate – from civil society to private sector and respecting their roles is an essential and inevitable consequence of the discussion on nutrition. It is similar to the process that has seen greater linkages between agriculture, nutrition and health, as led by FAO in the 2010 International Symposium on Food and Nutrition Security: Food-Based Approaches for Improving Diets and Raising Levels of Nutrition and by IFPRI in their ground breaking 2011 conference Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health.
Ultimately, it seems that this leads to actual programming that is more complete. Chris Manyamba, Institute for Food, Nutrition and Well Being, University of Pretoria, South Africa explains the progress in his country: “There is need for effective coordination across the sectors to define multi-sectorial and integrated approaches to improve nutrition among school children. This is being done by strengthening linkages between nutrition and agricultural, education, social protection, water and sanitation and addressing issues of food fortification and food safety.“ That seems well worth replicating, so how can we do it? How can better partnerships be built? Is it hard to overcome entrenchment in civil society and private sector relationships? What kind of enabling environment encourages all actors to work together?
We need more of your insightful views.
The contribution of the private sector and civil society to improve nutrition.
Group four (4) consists of a small number of students of the University of Guyana and form part of the graduating class of 2014 from the Economics Department. The aim of this group is to contribute to discussions such as this in an effort to help develop policies that better the lives of the poor and society as whole such as tackling the problem of food insecurity and malnutrition worldwide.
Our first attempt in this post will be to effectively contribute to the discussion on the roles that the private sector and civil society can play in improving nutrition in the diets of the poor and less fortunate.
All posts hereon are a compilation of the views of each member in the group.
The FAO reported under its nutritional country profile, Guyana – “A significant proportion of children under five years of age suffer from malnutrition (survey data indicate that 14% were underweight for age; 11% had low height for age and 11% had a low weight for height. About 40% of adults are overweight, with the prevalence of obesity increasing with age. Significantly more women are obese compared to men.”
As evident in the above statements the problem in Guyana is not one of hunger but rather the consumption of less nutritional foods at an early age. Most malnutrition cases occur in the rural areas where there is an abundance of foods that contain a large amount of carbohydrates and starches and do not have much of a nutritional content. The reason for the consumption of such low nutritional diets can be premise on the lack of knowledge of the rural poor on the types of foods and combination of food that are required to promote a healthy diet. The other factor that restricts them from consuming a healthy diet also can be pinpointed to the fact that some lack the income to fund such diets while some are guilty of having the income to fund such diets but tend to mismanage it due to their cultural diets and habits: alcohol consumption and tobacco usage are just some.
Some may argue that the primary cause of the poor being malnourished can be linked to their low incomes. We beg to differ. Although this is one of the major causes, it is not the primary cause. Abhijit V. Banerjee and Esther Duflo best explained it in their book “Poor Economics; A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty” when they said “…Equally remarkable, even the money that people spend on food is not spent to maximize the intake of calories or micronutrients. When very poor people get a chance to spend a little bit more on food, they don’t put everything into getting more calories. Instead, they buy better-tasting, more expensive calories.”
It makes economic sense if you would think about it. When consuming one basic type of food for probably years you tend to suffer from a case of prolonged diminishing marginal utility, but without the income to change your diet you have no choice but to continue consuming these basic, not so nutritional foods if you want to survive. However, with the increase in income; given ones taste and preferences, the poor would tend to deviate from the regular years long diet and move toward a tastier, utility maximizing diet now that they feel somewhat ‘richer’. However, these tastier foods are more expensive and subtract a large fraction of their income but might not increase their caloric or nutritional intake as found in the “flight to quality” in Abhijit V. Banerjee’s and Esther Duflo’s book, “Poor Economics; A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty”.
Therefore, the role that the private sector and civil society can play in fostering the improvement of nutrition for the poor is to fund and be a part of workshops that aim at educating the poor on the cons of being malnourished, their required nutritional intake and the types of food that will contribute to their increased nutritional intake. Once educated on the benefits of eating the right types and amount of food only then will the increases in income of the poor (nominal or real) by the private sector and civil society be effective in increasing the nutrition for the poor and malnourished as iterated by many.
 Poor Economics; A Radical Rethinking of the Way to Fight Global Poverty
“Often we are too slow to recognize how much and in what ways we can assist each other through sharing such expertise and knowledge.” – Owen Arthur
Knowledge is powerful tool. When yielded correctly it can have many positive effects for society. However when not shared properly or miscommunicated it can have adverse effects on society or society may lose out from a potentially advantageous situation. In this comment we intend to follow up on the policy issues part of this discussion, we started earlier, in particular the second question.
· What are the knowledge gaps?
Based on the project glossary for a Canadian Water Project, “knowledge gap is defined as a lack of referenced materials or expertise to assess certain characteristics that can be adequately described without data.” According to Investopedia the private sector is, “the part of the economy that is not state controlled, and is run by individuals and companies for profit.” Based on an article by BBC World Service, “a civil society is a public space between the state, the market and the ordinary household, in which people can debate and tackle action.” In other words, civil society encompasses all non-governmental organisations that are not for profit such as religious organisations, charities, etc.
The private sector may have more materials and better skills to help draft policies or to put issues forward in a more logical manner to policy makers. Civil society however is more in tune to the issues the average citizen is faced with. The private sector may deem the civil society as less important in policy designs but through its influences to the public, it has transformed itself to an important and equal partner in the directing of social and economic development.
In terms of nutrition and food security, civil society may notice the rise or malnutrition among citizens in a particular area but may not be able to approach policy makers with a plan to correct this. The private sector may not notice the said situation but if alerted by civil society they may be able to figure out the cause of the said situation and approach policy makers with a relevant plan. Hand in hand civil society and the private sector can pool their resources (knowledge) to improve the nutritional situation of any given economy.
(I) Investopedia. Private Sector Definition | Investopedia. 2013. http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/private-sector.asp (accessed September 16, 2013).
Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Region. Drinking Source Water Protection - Glossary. 2013. http://www.sourcewaterinfo.on.ca/content/spProject/glossary.php (accessed September 16, 2013).
British Broadcasting Corporation. What is Civil Society | BBC World Service. July 5, 2001. http://www.bbc.co.uk/worldservice/people/highlights/010705_civil.shtml (accessed September 16, 2013).
 (Ausable Bayfield Maitland Valley Source Protection Region 2013)
 ((I) Investopedia 2013)
 (British Broadcasting Corporation 2001)
Very interesting discussion on nutrition sensitive agriculture. I think the best pathway to nutrition for small holder farmers in developing country is agriculture-based nutrition intervention. If the food they produce is nutritious, they could supplement other foods (like cereals) from purchase within the village or available through market mechanisms. Therefore, sustainable technology producing more nutritious food is essential. Whatever land these people have or whatever opportunity is possible to improve access to land, these need to be tapped to grow nutritious food through sustainable technology and social arrangements (like economies of scope) that could enhance all the capitals of these people - social, natural, finance and human.
Thanks for putting me in the loop. I hope Bonn conference goes well. I would have liked to come to Bonn to share my ideas but t is too late for now.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Subhash Mehta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Myriam Ait Aissa (ACF)" <email@example.com>,
Date: Sun, 15 Sep 2013 13:41:25 +0530
Subject: 'Economies of Scope' & nutrition through agriculture ensures long term sustainability of smallholder producers
I am forwarding the mails exchanged by me with the CGIAR and Prof Swaminathan in this regard along with all the attachments for your assistance. Please do press home the fact that the CGIAR needs to revisit its 'Economies of scale' mandate, as it works against the rural poor smallholder producer communities who need to follow the low cost integrated agriculture of their area adopting 'Economies of Scope' to have access for their needs of nutritious food at little or no cost,
if we are to achieve the MDGs and in the short time.
Wishing you and Christine all the best and hope you are both able to persuade the CGIAR into re writing their mandates if they mean what they say about serving the poor smallholder producer communities.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Subhash Mehta <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sun, Sep 8, 2013 at 4:18 PM
Subject: 'Economies of Scope' ensures long term sustainability of
To: "William D. Dar ap" <email@example.com>
Cc: Prof M S Swaminathan <firstname.lastname@example.org>,
This has reference to the mails exchanged and Prof Swaminathan's response in this regard, trailed below.
I am quoting from the matrix, Ideas for Research, Project Design,
Implementation and policy for ‘nutrition sensitive food in
agriculture’, as attached:
‘Biofortification - Nutrient-rich crop varieties can be produced through genetic modification but until concerns about GMOs are adequately addressed, biofortified crops be bred by traditional methods’.
Prof Swaminathan's concern above, is reiterated by Jack Heineman, calling for better research and better process, before continuing to release GM crops into the environment or using them as food, reported by the Hindu and available at:
To assist the CGIAR in using the $400 million committed by the Gates Foundation to facilitate producer communities and all other people to access the required quantities of nutritious food, while contributing to economic growth, I am also attaching the following docs on
nutritious food through agriculture:
1. Enhancing the role of smallholder farmers in achieving sustainable
food and nutrition security
2. Synthesis of guiding principles on agriculture programming for nutrition
3. Key recommendations for Improving Nutrition through Agriculture
4. Sustainable nutrition security restoring the bridge between
agriculture and health
Looking forward to more action in this regard from the CGIAR,
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Prof M S Swaminathan <email@example.com>
Date: Thu, Sep 5, 2013 at 4:06 PM
MSS/RM/ 5 September 2013
Dear Shri Mehta
Thank you very much for sending me a copy of your letter to Dr Willie Dar. You have made important points.
With warm regards,
M S Swaminathan
PROF M S SWAMINATHAN
Founder Chairman and Chief Mentor
UNESCO Chair in Ecotechnology
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation
Third Cross Street, Taramani Institutional Area
Chennai - 600 113
Tel: +91 44 2254 2790 / 2254 1229 / 2254 1698; Fax: +91 44 2254 1319
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Srinivasrao, M (ICRISAT-IN) <M.Srinivasrao@cgiar.org>
Date: Wed, Aug 28, 2013 at 4:05 PM
Subject: Your mail :
To: "firstname.lastname@example.org" <email@example.com>
Cc: "Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)" <firstname.lastname@example.org>, "Bantilan, C
Dear Mr Subhash Mehta ,
Your mail of Aug 27h to Dr William Dar , has been marked to me for perusal and follow-up.
Thank you for your insights on IMOD and the two paradigms ( scale and scope ) and also your views on producer company organizations. At times , the challenge is how to develop the metrics of measurement and impact at the farmer level especially when you are looking at scale and from a value chain perspective .
I am also going through the attachments you had sent of Dr Nayak of XIMB .
I hope to discuss more with you in the days to come .
Best regards /
Specialist ; Markets , Research and Innovation .
From: Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)
Sent: Wednesday, August 28, 2013 6:20 AM
To: Bantilan, C (ICRISAT-IN); Srinivasrao, M (ICRISAT-IN)
Subject: FW: Your mail
From: Subhash Mehta [mailto:email@example.com]
Sent: 27 August 2013 23:46
To: Dar, William (ICRISAT-IN)
Subject: Your mail
You had asked me to read your talk at the MS Swaminathan Leadership in Agriculture Award Ceremony, in New Delhi, explaining CGIAR's 'Inclusive market oriented development (IMOD)' vision, developed for the decade ending 2020, as available at:
MDW TAAS DGs_Enhancing Smallholder_Scr .pdf (1.0MB), and then give you my comments. The attached table clusters the terminologies in two paradigms from your talk.
Governments, NARES, CGIAR, etc., all appear to be very concerned about hunger, malnutrition, poverty and suicides in the smallholder producer communities (producers) and the effects of climate change on them.They also appear to be equally serious about improving their livelihoods, increasing net income and purchasing power and that developing countries drive economic growth in a ustainable manner and for the long term.
The Old & New Paradigms, shared with you earlier, as attached, urgently requires that the new Paradigms be implemented, first by including the low cost integrated agriculture system of each area and included in all the mandates. Also the contracting of farmers for wide replication of their successful models, as extension services are required to be provided to producers for improving their communities' economic condition. This also means supporting and assisting in the setting up of the producer orgs/ company (PC) intervention, if they are to have access to their annual nutritious food and cash needs.
The PC intervention is a critical component of the New Paradigm. The resource poor producers, mostly illiterate and isolated, need policies seeking 'Economies of Scope', some of which have been addressed in your talk, also listed in the attached table. Thus, producers need these policies which work for them as they and their families work their farms 24x7, 365 days and under hardship conditions, not the policies seeking 'economies of scale', also listed in the table, as they are in the interest of the commercial organisations, The producers need the required assistance to set up their PC and for staffing with professionals, to shoulder all responsibilities and manage risks, other than on farm activities.The PC, tested over time, adopting 'Economy of Scope,' policies ensures:
Smallholder agriculture contributes to improved nutrition and achieves the MDGs,
A bottom up 'Producers' Jury (IIED/ DDS model)' to ascertain their
IAR4D and other needs,
Following a low cost integrated agriculture to meet their own
nutritious food and cash needs,
Creating human and institutional capacity (women, men and youth)
within the community,
Assistance for setting up their PC, staffed with professionals trained
to be general practitioner (GPs)/ MBAs in agriculture,
Culture of planning & budgeting, to manage through weekly/ monthly/
quarterly and annual meetings of concerned stakeholders at each level,
Quarterly internal audit of performance by an independent person,
Arrangements are made for capital and working capital requirement -
get rid of money lenders,
Facilitating members to produce inputs and energy on farm,
Putting in place water harvesting and recharging of wells and bore
wells in each farm,
Value addition for increasing the shelf life of produce/products &
storage till prices peak,
Provision for reserves and emergencies with storage of nutritious
food, etc., in PC go downs,
Management of post harvest losses by covering production with orders in advance.
In these circumstances, you will be happy to know that some donors, managing public funds, are now stipulating that funds are used only for 'Public Good', thus putting producers' needs seeking 'Economies of Scope', on top of their agenda, when considering requests for funding/ loans. It is also vital that concept notes/ project proposals and requests for conferences/ workshops, etc., when requesting donor funding, should first be debated by all stakeholders, with donors setting up an 'Electronic Consultation Process', ensuring that all proposals follow the 'economies of scope' paradigm, removing all grey areas from the proposals, which otherwise could drift to the
'economies of scale' paradigm.
You will agree with me that a mechanism is needed to ensure that requests received midstream for change to, 'Economies of Scale' from 'Economies of Scope' policies of sanctioned projects, primarily to meet the needs of the value chains focusing on a 'Market Oriented Development', are not accepted. Further, for proposals received in the future, donors also need to include in their contract that if such
requests are received midstream, the project will be terminated and that the PEA will return the funds already disbursed.
Women, Men and Nutrition
Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:10 am (PDT) . Posted by:
"Myriam Ait Aissa"
I'm happy to come back to you on this « Nutrition&Agriculture » issue.Indeed, as you might know, ACF (Acton agains hunger) is very involved in tackling undernutrition.
In this regards, I have been asked to coordinate a break out session in the "Facilitating Research Uptake : highlighting the importance of considering the empowerment of decision-making within households" for the biennial CGIAR Science Forum (http://scienceforum13.org), which will be held from September 23-25, 2013 in Bonn. The main objective of this conference is to improve griculture's impact on Nutrition and health outcomes.
In preparation to this meeting, I would be delighted to get your views as Civil Societies Organizations and representative of farmers associations on the two following questions:
- What would your members would like to ask about Nutrition?
- According to your members, what interest do men have in the
nutrition of their children?
I allow myself to put Christine Okali from IDS into copy of this
message as we defined these two questions together.
Thanks in advance for your feedback - I will be very happy to be able to get / bring some of your views in this CGIAR meeting,
Tel : + 00 33 (0)1 43 35 88 58
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org<blocked::mailto:email@example.com>
Action Contre la Faim
4 rue Niepce
75662 PARIS Cedex 14
Fax : +00 33 (0)1 43 35 88 00
Subhash Mehta, Trustee,
Devarao Shivaram Trust,
NGO Association for Agricultural Research Asia Pacific (NAARAP),
Hegenahalli PO, Devanahalli Taluka,
Bangalore Rural North, Pin Code: 562110,
Tel: +91-80-28494009 / +91-80-22712290,
Subhash Mehta, Trustee,
Devarao Shivaram Trust,
NGO Association for Agricultural Research Asia Pacific (NAARAP),
Bangalore Rural North,
Pin Code no: 562110,
Tel: +91-80-28494009 / +91-80-22712290,
At the turn of the 20th Century most developing nations successfully began to provide food for an exponentially increasing population through the industrialization of agriculture. Rapid increase in staples, such as rice and maize, and dairy products to upkeep with the never ending demands of the world’s population were possible through research and technological advances. Such products, through globalization, have begun to flood the markets of developing countries, such as Guyana.
Being an agriculture based economy, with a land size of 83,000 square miles and a stable population of 750,000 people, the country shows great potential and capacity in producing all the food its people demand. Rightly enough, through a National Strategy to improve nutrition, the country has managed to eradicate extreme hunger and poverty- the first MDG goal before the targeted year, implying an improvement in nutrition.
But to what extent? About 40% of Guyana’s adult population is overweight, where; nutrition and obesity-related diseases - diabetes, hypertension, and heart disease - are among the ten leading causes of death. The quality of food consumed by a country’s people is an issue that must be addressed by any government.
The Private sector and Civil Society Organizations definitely have an important role to play in this area of concern. The government on its own cannot improve the level of nutrition in an economy. The civil society organizations are more capable of mobilizing and educating the public on “smart eating”. CSOs are also capable of lobbying for the needs of the consumers at large, petitioning for policies, and implementation of policies that will better the nutrition of the people. For example, a relatively large portion of food consumed in Guyana is from imports, which consist of tinned foods, processed foods and preserved foods- all of which have negative long term impacts on health. CSO’s are of the capacity to curb such actions, representing the public health, by petitioning for policies to limit such imports. CSOs are also more capable in educating the Public through workshops and awareness sessions on issues relating to health and nutrition. In Guyana, the government can enable a framework to manage and monitor CSOs as done in Nepal to conduct such activities.
Similarly, private sectors can contribute in a greater way to the nutritional enhancements of Guyana, but with the aid of policies implemented by the Government. Being richly endowed with land and fertile soils, it possible that Guyana can produce most of what it eats. Incentives should be provided for farmers to plant more and then for the private sector to process our very own produce. For example, the demand for meat birds in Guyana is high. However when there is a shortage on the local market, private sectors would import chicken which is laden with steroids, (which is negatively correlated with health). Also eggs of such nature are also imported. The private sector of Guyana is more than capable of farming poultry meat and reaping eggs to meet the demand of the nation in a healthier way. The same can be said for other products, such as rice and sugar. The private sector should be motivated to engage and secondary levels of production using raw materials provided by our very own country. This would lead to Guyana capabilities in not only eradicating extreme hunger and poverty but to ensure proper nutrition.
It cannot be overemphasized how important policies implemented by the Government are towards enabling the Private Sector and CSO’s in improving nutrition.
Links and resources:
Earlier FSN Forum ICN2 discussions: