Policy Support and Governance Gateway


Food systems at risk − New trends and challenges

The way food systems have evolved over past decades means that they now face major risks, which in turn threaten the future of food systems themselves. Food systems have seriously contributed to climate change, environmental destruction, overexploitation of natural resources and pollution of air, water and soils. Despite the global average improvement in calorie production and major development of the food and agricultural product markets, huge inequalities in food access and repartition of the added value have emerged, leading to new serious nutritional and social problems. Based on a review of the most recent scientific knowledge, this report emphasizes Low-Income and Lower Middle-Income countries where the population faces greater challenges than elsewhere. Different threats are adding up and there are few options to adapt or mitigate these combinations of risks. This is a call for all those - businesses, policy makers, consumers, funding agencies - who are engaged in food systems transformations to bear in mind their systemic aspects and their multiple outcomes and risks in order to be able to fashion more sustainable and equitable food systems.

This report was prepared and coordinated by the Centre de coopération internationale en recherche agronomique pour le développement (CIRAD), and is a joint production with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). The scientific report hereunder takes stock of the current and future risks and challenges as regards to food systems.