Agriculture and food systems face the challenge of meeting the growing demand for more and higher quality food, but also of doing so in a way that is sustainable, equitable and meets the nutritional needs and preferences of consumers. How should we move ahead to make sure that agriculture and food systems are up to this task?
The Cost of Hunger in Africa (CoHA): The Social and Economic Impact of Child Undernutrition in Malawi report shows that the country loses significant sums of money each year as a result of child undernutrition through increased healthcare costs, additional burdens to the education system and lower productivity by its workforce. It estimates that child undernutrition cost Malawi 10.3 percent of Gross Domestic Product in 2012 (most recent year with complete data).
The 12-country, government-led study is commissioned by the African Union and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development’s Planning and Coordinating Agency and supported by the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the UN World Food Programme. The study's model estimates the additional cases of illness, death, school repetitions, school dropouts, and reduced physical productivity directly associated with those suffering undernutrition before the age of five. Based on data from each country, the model then estimates the associated economic losses incurred by the economy in terms of health, education, and potential productivity in a single year. So far, it has been conducted in six countries in Africa including Malawi.
Some key findings to emerge from the study in Malawi reveal that:
Overall, the Cost of Hunger in Africa study serves as an important tool to show how undernutrition is not just a health issue, but an economic and social one as well that requires multi-sectoral commitment and investment. It reinforces the critical need to prioritize nutrition in the national development agenda.
This publication “School feeding and possibilities for direct purchases from family farming in Latin American countries” contributes to the articulation of the sectors involved with school feeding, in the search for alternatives for the institutionalization and strengthening of school feeding policies in the countries; equally, it is hoped that in the medium and long term SFPs can contribute to the human right to food (HRF) and to sustainable human development.
Ensuring food safety is a public health priority, and an essential step to achieving food security. Effective food safety and quality management systems are key not only to safeguarding the health and well-being of people but also to fostering economic development and improving livelihoods by promoting access to domestic, regional and international markets