Developing country food systems have changed dramatically since the Green Revolution period. At the same time, malnutrition still represents a challenge and is now understood to encompass the three simultaneous dimensions of undernourishment, micronutrient deficiencies, and over-nutrition manifest in overweight and obesity. These changes in food systems and in the understanding of the global malnutrition challenge necessitate fresh thinking about food systems-based strategies to reduce malnutrition. This paper introduces a special section that offers such new perspectives. We discuss trends with respect to indicators of the triple burden of malnutrition to understand the extent of global malnutrition challenges and then relate those to food systems transformation in developing countries.
a Charles H. Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
b Department of Economics, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
c Agricultural Development Economics Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
d Division of Nutritional Sciences, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY 14853-7801, USA
e Nutrition and Consumer Protection Division, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Viale delle Terme di Caracalla, 00153 Rome, Italy
Since social protection and smallholder agricultural interventions often cover the same geographic space and target the same households, there are opportunities for synergies and complementarities that strengthen livelihoods of poor rural households.
Social protection policies aim to reduce socio-economic risks, vulnerability, extreme poverty and deprivation, while smallholder agricultural policies focus on improving productivity in crops, fisheries, forestry and livestock and access to markets. Both areas of policy are important elements in poverty reduction strategies, but little attention has been paid to the interaction between them and the implications for design and implementation of related policies and programmes.
Poor rural households that mostly rely on agriculture for their livelihoods are often affected by limited access to resources, low agricultural productivity, poorly functioning markets and repeated exposure to risks. Social protection can help alleviate credit, savings and liquidity constraints by providing cash and in-kind support. In addition, the regularity and predictability of social protection instruments help households to manage risks better and to engage in more profitable livelihood and agricultural activities. Agricultural policies and programmes can help smallholder households manage risk by stimulating farm output, income and overall household welfare.
Brief based on the online discussion, held from 4 to 26 February 2013, facilitated by FAO’s Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum) with FAO’s Forestry Department in the context of the International Conference on Forests for Food Security and Nutrition.