Many thanks for the topic. Addressing nutrition issues from a private sector perspective is a challenge as its profit margin oriented. As you know well balanced foods attract premium prices thus, fewers sales and that makes them 'unpalatable' to investers. However, the private sector in partnership with CSOs can make a positive change. The public will have a quicker buyin for the adoption of menus involving nutrious foods if this cause is CSO led. Therefore, the private sector needs to finance the CSOs to this effect.
In essense, the model is research, production and finance to be handled by the private sector with promotion led by the civil society for greater public buyin.
Excess Nutrition or Overeating leads to obesity and deterioration in human capital.
The basic fact is that intense practitioners of yoga consume food only once a day while moderate practitioners of yoga consume food twice a day. With the normal consumption being around three times on a given day, the economic benefit or the reduction in food consumption due to yoga practice is two meals per person per day for intense practitioner and the same would be one meal per person per day for moderate practitioner. In addition, the economic benefit includes increase in well-being & consciousness, and decrease in cost of non-communicable diseases.
Private sector and civil societies play a significant role to improve nutrition of the community.
In fact in many countries, they play a bigger role in education, demonstration, training and dissemination of traditional knowledge. Availability of food, access to food by enhanced purchasing power and absorption of nutrients by a receptive and healthy body are three pillars of nutritional security.
Without the active involvement of civil society and private sector, the whole exercise will be ineffective.
The private sector has a social obligation which is further embellished by tax benefits. Rockefeller Foundation funded the much lauded wheat programme in Mexico and India. Ford Foundation, Microsoft, Jamshatjee Tata Foundation etc are a few philanthropic organizations supporting health and nutrition education.
A detailed discussion will be useful to planners, politicians and educationalists.
Dr K V Peter
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Earlier FSN Forum ICN2 discussions: