BLOG: The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in the food system have been well captured over the last year. Before COVID-19, SMEs in low-and middle-income countries (LMICs) were already facing several challenges that limited their ability to grow and increase production of affordable nutritious foods. production, to knowledge and technical support to improve food safety and quality, and to networks to grow and share knowledge.
BLOG: Over the past eight months we—in our capacity as Action Track Chairs for the UN Food Systems Summit—have received well over 2,000 written submissions from around the world on how to transform food systems so that they can deliver access to safe and nutritious foods for all, in ways that deliver sustainable consumption, use approaches that are positive and regenerative for nature, generate livelihoods and decent work for those who depend on the food system, while promoting equity and building resilience for all.
when fortification’s done right, payoffs are large in terms of improved nutritional status, cognition, and productivity – which is why it’s so widely implemented. And wherever it’s implemented, we need to know if it’s working. Ideally, we’d measure impact on reduced nutrient deficiencies or related health outcomes, but this can be difficult for reasons of cost or because of the time taken for fortification programmes to yield measurable impacts. So what do we do instead?
Food is traded both globally and locally. Yet even when consumers can purchase food from all over the world, local, "traditional" markets often provide the least expensive, freshest products with the shortest supply chains. And that is why local markets are ubiquitous and essential for feeding consumers of all types.
BLOG: The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and the Global Alliance for Nutrition (GAIN) have just signed up to a new partnership. WWF aims to stop the degradation of the earth’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony, and GAIN to deliver more nutritious food for all people. At face value fundamentally different jobs. Why would they be joining forces? The answer is simple: food systems are failing nature and are leaving billions of people without safe and nutritious food.
The number of people who go to bed hungry was rising steadily prior to the COVID-19 pandemic due to stresses related to climate, inequality and conflict, and now stands at 690 million. The pandemic has supercharged these trends. The latest UN estimates are sobering, with an additional 130 million projected to be suffering from hunger, even before the devastating pandemic numbers we are currently seeing from India and Brazil.
Dubbed a "Peoples Summit", it is open to unprecedented engagement in every country, from every sector, and every constituency. It is also dubbed a "Solutions Summit" with a focus on action. I lead one of the five thematic areas or "Action Tracks" (ATs) on "Ensuring access to safe and nutritious foods for all". There are four other ATs, a Science Group, a Champions Group, 4 cross-cutting Levers and the over 100 Summit Dialogues to date.
In the nine countries where GAIN works, lockdowns and border closures to mitigate the spread of the virus and the concurrent economic impact could greatly increase hunger. In some places, restrictions in movements and lay-offs would mean reduced accessibility to fresh produce and nutrient-rich animal-sourced foods, resulting in millions of people having to resort to less nutritious foods.
In late February, twenty-four World Food Prize Laureates penned a letter asking the Biden Administration for help. These internationally recognized and exceptional Laureates are known to have advanced the quantity, quality, availability of, or access to food through creative interventions within the food system.
Unsafe food and malnutrition can be twin threats to consumer health and create hurdles to achieving food security for consumers. Yet addressing these twin threats is vital to meet the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 2, a bold call to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition by 2030.