In trying to understand Sustainable Food Systems, there are these 2 critical actors that are often neglected yet they are very fundamental drivers that can impact improved food systems.
1. The local farmers: these actors are the producers, and they are often not recognized in policy formulation and implementation. They are not recognized when pricing and regulation, the market regulators just fix prices and not considering inputs from the farmers, as they need to also measure their effort and some form of calculations to consider if they are making a loss or making profit from their farming activities. There is also the concern about transportation systems and access to market, we have seen that there is the activities of 'middle-men', buy the products are low prices and sell at higher prices making more profits than the farmers who are the producers.
2. Conflicts and crises: we are experiencing this concern in parts of North Central Nigeria, where farmers are clashing with herders, and tonnes of farm crops close to harvesting are either consumed by farm animals directed by the herders or burnt in anger and revenge. The face of conflict in Nigeria is having a huge impact on the food systems, and negatively affecting the food systems.
In understanding the food system, we need to understand the actors, the processes, the market and the final consumers. How does the consumer get the quality and the commensurate quantity, in the form that retains the nutrients that is needed.