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
The 2013 Human Development Report is the latest in the series of global Human Development Reports published by UNDP since 1990 as independent, empirically grounded analyses of major development issues, trends and policies.
Overall, global agricultural R&D spending in the public and private sectors steadily increased between 2000 and 2008. As further proof of positive development, most of this growth was driven by developing countries, since growth in high-income countries stalled. But, spending growth in developing countries was largely driven by positive trends in a number of larger, more advanced middle-income countries—such as China and India—masking negative trends in numerous smaller, poorer, and more technologically challenged countries. Countries in this last group are often highly vulnerable to severe volatility in funding, and hence in spending, which impedes the continuity and ultimately the viability of their research programs. Many R&D agencies in this group lack the necessary human, operating, and infrastructural resources to successfully develop, adapt, and disseminate science and technology innovations.