Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition (FSN Forum)

HLPE 3 rd Note on Critical, emerging and enduring issues V0 draft for e-consultation

Building resilient supply chains for FSN

  • ‘Sustainability’ and ‘resilience’ are often misused terms. Currently there are no sustainable systems, there are no energy efficient resilient systems. Sustainability requires adaptation to evolution process which in turn depends on migration in adverse climate conditions. Resilience requires expensive energy to develop or maintain existing system under severe weather conditions like global warming.
  • Evolution process: Evolution of life on the planet Earth is a continuous process. Evolution process of human activity (life) on the planet Earth is cyclic in nature. (Evolution process cycle diagram attached) Adapting to the current cycle of evolution process is the Necessity of every successful living organism. Necessity is the mother of Invention. Invention leads to Development. Development may trigger next cycle in the Evolution process.

There are different but important roles of several disciplines during the evolution process cycles. 1) Learning from the past mistakes, difficulties, disasters and natural calamities should drive research in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to reduce the shocks in the future. 2) Research in STEM is not enough to tackle current problems like pandemics, new, unknown and unforeseen situations. Able administration and efficient management are necessary to provide scientific solution adoptable and acceptable to all players in systems. 3) There is need for economic and geopolitical equality in providing relief to effected people, leaving no one behind on the planet.

  • Adapting to predictable shocks is advantageous to food system actors over resilience. Extreme weather conditions, forest fires in dry season, heavy rain fall, massive floods in river basins during rainy season are predictable shocks. They occur year after year. Efficiency oriented food system approach may not be suitable for predictable shocks. Local, co-operative, people centric approach may be effective, it may not be as efficient as global food chain, necessary local food reaches the effected population quickly. Watchful local co-operatives/ NGOs integrate available global component with nearby local food in meeting the FSN of the effected population. Earth quakes, tsunamis are mostly unpredictable, there are no known methods to the recovery and transform stages of resilience to unpredictable shocks.  
  • Farmers gets paid less for their produce, where as they have to pay higher price for the food they consume. Farmers increase agricultural production using more chemical fertilizers and chemical pesticides. Their economic status hardly improves with enhanced production because of the increase in cost of fertilizers and pesticides. Income of small farmers and agricultural workers is vulnerable to weather changes and natural calamities.
  • Milk is produced in villages and transported to processing units located elsewhere. The milk after processing and packaging sold at higher price in the same village. Low cost equipment for milk cream extraction in small volume is available in the market. Milk after extracting cream can be given back to dairy farmer along with part of the cream. Dairy farmer will be getting back milk plus part of the cream. Cream may be sold or used in household for making some other food product. Cream extraction center can accumulate the cream collected in a day and sell it in the market. It is a win -win situation for dairy farmer and milk cream extraction center.
  • Encourage self-reliance. Distribute development and decentralize administration to ensure nutritious food to disadvantaged populations in epidemics and shocks due to natural disasters.
  • Integrate long shelf -life food products with fresh local food items to meet special dietary requirement of aged and vulnerable.
  • Value addition in food system has large potential in income generating activities in villages. Value addition to the food can be made with fresh, organic farm products like fruits, vegetables, eggs, fish and meat available in plenty in the villages. Value addition to food products with local cultural habits leads to increased consumption of goods and services in food sector. There is scope for innovation and increasing economic value in these activities. Investments in expensive infrastructure development, rapid transport of perishable goods and cold storage facilities are not required.
  • Promote ‘blue food’ (fresh water prawns and small fish like herrings). Blue food from fresh water bodies is likely to provide another income generating opportunity to youth living inland (non- coastal) and hill regions, nutrition security to the people living in villages, will reduce the emissions due to transportation of wet and fresh aqua food from coastal area to inland, reduce the need of cold storage facilities and highspeed transportation, reduce emissions. Greenhouse gases from fish is less compared to chicken, pig and cattle.
  • As a part of ‘leave no one behind’, motivate small farmers in high value and labour-intensive food grains cultivation. Initiate steps to increase participation of small farmers, agricultural workers in food chain value addition (goods and services) to reach income at par with other manufacturing and service sectors.

Urban and peri-urban food systems  

  • Automation and work from home have brought a major change in food habits and lifestyle of people living in cities. Reduced physical activity and commuting to work spot resulted in sedentary life style and associated health issues. Excessive food consumption coupled with sedentary lifestyle increased obese people percentage in the world. People are aware of the problems with obesity and climate change, but have little information to act on. Aggressive marketing by few food manufacturers is only adding confusion. There is need for simpler food labelling to help the novice in making proper decisions regarding healthy meals.   
  • Current food labelling with nutrition information and contents needs a revision. Labelling each food packet with dietary energy in Kcal, total weight, carbo hydrates in grams, protein in grams and fat in grams, and ‘carbon foot print’ in CO2eq will increase the awareness about food, nutrition and climate impact of the food at hand. Simple instructions on every ready to eat meals with age group, vegetarian/ vegan/ standard, breakfast/ lunch/ snacks/dinner, add salt/sugar according to the taste, salad/ sauce/ cream included will be more convenient to busy office goers and tired house makers.
  • “Locally produced food can be easily made accessible to the vulnerable and resource-poor by increasing food availability, enhancing nutrition, improving farmers’ livelihoods in peri-urban and creating job opportunities in the urban areas. By adding value within local supply chains and markets, this approach contributes to improved local revenues” [1].
  • Integrate long shelf -life food products (including those from global food chains) with fresh local food items to make healthy and tasty meals following local food preparation habits and meeting dietary requirement in informal settlements.
  • Bridge the rural urban gap in the standard of living. Train and motivate rural youth in marketing, using digital technology and e-commerce in creating a vibrant atmosphere in villages. Trained youth at VLIC (Village Livelihood Information Consultation center) provides information on food, health and education sectors as a paid service. Youth at VLIC may partner with farmers, landless agricultural workers in micro and small enterprises to increase income level of self and other farmers and landless agricultural workers. (VLIC block diagram is attached)

Conflicts and the fragility of food systems

  • Encourage self-reliance. Distribute development and decentralize administration to ensure nutritious food to disadvantaged populations in epidemics and shocks due to conflicts.
  • “Locally produced food can be easily made accessible to the vulnerable and resource-poor by increasing food availability, enhancing nutrition, improving farmers’ livelihoods and creating job opportunities for other disadvantaged groups. By adding value within local supply chains and markets, this approach contributes to improved local revenues” [1].
  • Integrate long shelf -life food products (mostly from global food industry) with fresh local food items to meet dietary requirement, local food habits of conflicts effected population.

Revitalizing climate policies for FSN

  • Considerable research is required to understand the effect of climate changes on food system. Reducing carbon emissions in food system is only a part. Slope soil instability causing landslides, mudslides and devastating floods in agricultural fields needs to be studied. Root site-occupancy during the transition period from clear felling and replanted trees growth plays critical role in slope soil stability [2].  

Recognizing the role and rights of food system workers:

  • Rights of food system workers can be ensured by motivating them in income generating activities. Per capita GDP is one indicator for additional income generating opportunities to women, food system workers, especially those in informal and seasonal contractual arrangements, small farmers, landless agricultural workers and other vulnerable groups.  It may be argued that not everyone reaches the per capita GDP. However, the national GDP will increase, those exceeding per capita GDP will have a higher target to achieve, those unable to achieve per capita GDP will be trained to take different opportunity. On the long run, national GDP will increase and there will be improvement in the working and living conditions of all.
  • A correlation coefficient of 0.84, which indicates a strong positive linear correlation, between GDP and CO2 emission is observed. This indicates that as GDP increases, CO2 emissions also increase almost proportionally. The estimation of GDP long-run equation indicated that that the CO2 emissions are negative related to the economic growth.[3]

Building a meaningful interface for diverse knowledges and practices for FSN  

  • Food security and nutrition plays a key role in Sustainable Development Goal1(SDG1) of UN: ‘zero hunger’ and elimination of all forms of malnutrition. The difference between ‘food security’ and ‘protein adequacy’ is not clearly communicated. In many countries vulnerable groups consume more carbohydrates instead of protein to meet the dietary energy requirement. Cost of protein is much more than cost of carbohydrates. There are no protein foods being provided under most of the nutrition programmes– possibly due lack of availability, affordability and/or awareness on food groups and dietary adequacy and frequency [4,5].
  • In the WHO recommended healthy diet there are no guidelines on quality and quantity of protein [6]. Many countries are yet to prepare their own guidelines. Statistics reveal that 93% of Indian population are unaware of ideal protein requirement per day with pregnant ladies on the top (97%), followed by lactating mothers (96%) and adolescents (95%) [7]. Situation in other countries is not much different.
  • Animal studies indicates that “Maternal protein restriction leads to hyperresponsiveness to stress and salt-sensitive hypertension in male offspring” [8]. Further research on similar studies on PEM (protein energy malnutrition) in humans is required. It is necessary to study the possibility of PEM related malnutrition from pregnant ladies to male children. In the meantime, protein requirement guidelines of pregnant ladies should be prepared. There are several research reports with contradicting results on protein quantity and quality [9-14]. Currently, high pressure marketing effort is used about protein adequacy. The number of obese people worldwide is increasing.

Further research is required to

  • Ascertain the role of slope soil stability during rainstorm. It will be of significance because the agencies/ countries benefitting from timber trading, clear-felling of trees and reforestation could be different from the effected communities/ countries with human habitats in the nearby region due to frequent landslides, mudslides and catastrophic floods [15-22].
  • Study the role of protein quantity and quality such that the risk of obesity, adiposity, and associated NCD (Non Communicable Diseases) in the world decreases.


1. Enhance local production for local consumption, Solution Cluster 5.2.1, UNFSS 2021.

2. Root strength, growth, and rates of decay: root reinforcement changes of two tree species and their contribution to slope stability: Alex Watson, Chris Phillips and Michael Marden, Plant and Soil 217: 39–47, 1999.

3. Rafał Kasperowicz “Economic growth and CO2 emissions: the ECM analysis ”, Journal of International Studies, Vol. 8, No 3, 2015, pp. 91-98. DOI: 10.14254/2071-8330.2015/8-3/7

4. A Look at Indian Protein Deficiency. And how to fix it. Heal with Priyanka, Aug 5, 2017

5. India’s protein deficiency and the need to address the problem, SHOBA SURI, HEALTH EXPRESS, OCT 16 2020.

6. Home/ Newsroom/Fact sheets/Detail/Healthy diet, World Health Organization, 29 April 2020.

7. The Effects of Protein Deficiency The Importance of Amino Acids, Darla Leal, June 04, 2021, Verywellfit.

8. Maternal protein restriction leads to hyperresponsiveness to stress and salt-sensitive hypertension in male offspring, Robert A. AugustyniakKaran Singh, Daniel Zeldes, Melissa Singh, and Noreen F. Rossi, American Journal of Physiology ,  MAY 2010,

9. The science of protein, British Nutrition Foundation.

10. High protein intake in young children and increased weight gain and obesity risk; Berthold Koletzko, Hans Demmelmair, Veit Grote, Christine Prell, and Martina Weber, Am J Clin Nutr 2016;103:303–4.

11. Protein needs early in life and long-term health, Kim F Michaelsen and Frank R Greer, Am J Clin Nutr 2014;99(suppl):718S–22S.

12. Dietary energy density as a marker of dietary quality in Swedish children and adolescents: the European Youth Heart Study, E Patterson, J Wa¨rnberg, E Poortvliet, JM Kearney and M Sjo¨stro¨m, European Journal of Clinical Nutrition (2010) 64, 356–363

13. Overweight and Obesity and their Association with Dietary Habits, and Sociodemographic Characteristics Among Male Primary School Children in Al-Hassa, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Tarek Tawfik Amin, Ali Ibrahim Al-Sultan, and Ayub Ali, Indian J Community Med. 2008 Jul; 33(3): 172–181. Doi: 10.4103/0970-0218.42058

14. Protein intake from 0 to 18 years of age and its relation to health: a systematic literature review for the 5th Nordic Nutrition Recommendations, Agneta Hörnell, Hanna Lagström, Britt Lande, and Inga Thorsdottir, Food Nutr Res. 2013; 57: 10.3402/fnr.v57i0.21083. doi: 10.3402/fnr.v57i0.21083

15. Dominik Paprotny , Antonia Sebastian, Oswaldo Morales-Nápoles  & Sebastiaan N. Jonkman; Trends in flood losses in Europe over the past 150 years, NATURE COMMUNICATIONS  (2018) 9:1985, DOI: 10.1038/s41467-018-04253-1

16. Global fatal landslide occurrence from 2004 to 2016 Melanie J. Froude and David N. Petley, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci., 18, 2161–2181, 2018

17. FAO. 2020. Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 – Key findings. Rome.


19. de Vries, S.M.G., Alan, M., Bozzano, M., Burianek, V., Collin, E., Cottrell, J., Ivankovic, M., Kelleher, C.T., Koskela, J., Rotach, P., Vietto, L. and Yrjänä, L. 2015. Pan-European strategy for genetic conservation of forest trees and establishment of a core network of dynamic conservation units. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN), Bioversity International, Rome, Italy. Xii + 40 p.


21. FAO. 2015. Towards effective national forest funds, by Matta, R. FAO Forestry Paper No. 174. Rome, Italy.

22. Konnert, M., Fady, B., Gömöry, D., A’Hara, S., Wolter, F., Ducci, F., Koskela, J., Bozzano, M., Maaten, T. and Kowalczyk, J. 2015. Use and transfer of forest reproductive material in Europe in the context of climate change. European Forest Genetic Resources Programme (EUFORGEN), Bioversity International, Rome, Italy. Xvi and 75 p.

Dr. C V Kameswara Rao, M. Tech, Ph.D

Information Practitioner (voluntary)

Health, food, nutrition and climate change