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The global burden of chronic and hidden hunger: Trends and determinants - Elsevier 

The global burden of chronic and hidden hunger: Trends and determinants - Elsevier  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Eradicating hunger in all its forms, including chronic and hidden hunger, requires good understanding of the problem's magnitude, trends, and determinants. Existing studies measure “hunger” through proxies that all have shortcomings. 


We use a more comprehensive metric, Disability-Adjusted Life Years (DALYs), to quantify the burden of hunger and show related trends. While the burden of chronic hunger more than halved since 1990, it remains larger than the burden of hidden hunger. 


Cross-country regressions show that economic growth was a major determinant of reducing the hunger burden. However... determinants have larger effects on the burden of chronic hunger than on the burden of hidden hunger. Complementary micro-level interventions are required to end hunger in all its forms. 


Open Access: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2018.03.004


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
 
So far “hunger” was measured by looking at how much calories are available per capita (at the national or household level). However, this ignores distributional issues, it also ignores that an outcome like hunger cannot necessarily be equated directly with one single input like calories, and it ignores the importance of other nutrients. Alternatively “hunger” was measured by looking at the prevalence of anthropometric outcomes such as stunting. However, this ignores that not all forms of hunger lead to stunting and that stunting is not only caused by hunger, and by using a head-count approach it also ignores that the “depth” of the problem can change (looking how many people are affected doesn’t say much about how much they are suffering). Index measures that combine the above information suffer from the same shortcomings. Therefore we used a comprehensive measure of “hunger” that looks at the outcomes of malnutrition in all the relevant nutrients. 

We found that over time (calorie-related) chronic hunger is falling much faster than (micronutrient-related) hidden hunger: Between 1990 and 2010 the global burden of chronic hunger fell by 50%, while the burden of hidden hunger fell only by 30%. In terms of what is driving these developments – and what might be used as levers by policy-makers – economic growth has been a key factor, while other factors contributing to a reduction of hunger were urbanisation, democracy, clement climate, larger food supplies and diversity, female schooling, and access to improved sanitation and health care. However, these factors worked much stronger for chronic hunger than for hidden hunger. This means that to address hunger in general, and chronic hunger in particular (one of the Sustainable Development Goals), one strategy might be to promote economic growth, supported by measures aiming at strengthening the other factors (where possible). However to address hidden hunger (micronutrient malnutrition), more specific measures are needed – such as biofortification, food fortification, or dietary supplementation. 
 
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Alexander J. Stein's curator insight, April 2, 5:10 PM
 
So far “hunger” was measured by looking at how much calories are available per capita (at the national or household level). However, this ignores distributional issues, it also ignores that a complex outcome like hunger cannot necessarily be equated directly with one single input like calories, and it ignores the importance of other nutrients. Alternatively “hunger” was measured by looking at the prevalence of anthropometric outcomes such as stunting. However, this ignores that not all forms of hunger lead to stunting and that stunting is not only caused by hunger, and by using a head-count approach it also ignores that the “depth” of the problem can change (looking how many people are affected doesn’t say much about how much they are suffering). Index measures that combine the above information suffer from the same shortcomings. Therefore we used DALYs, a comprehensive measure (also) of “hunger” that looks at the outcomes of malnutrition in all the relevant nutrients. 

We found that over time (calorie-related) chronic hunger is falling much faster than (micronutrient-related) hidden hunger: Between 1990 and 2010 the global burden of chronic hunger fell by 50%, while the burden of hidden hunger fell only by 30%. In terms of what is driving these developments – and what might be used as levers by policy-makers – economic growth has been a key factor, while other factors contributing to a reduction of hunger were urbanisation, democracy, clement climate, larger food supplies and diversity, female schooling, and access to improved sanitation and health care. However, these factors worked much stronger for chronic hunger than for hidden hunger. This means that to address hunger in general, and chronic hunger in particular (one of the Sustainable Development Goals), one strategy might be to promote economic growth, supported by measures aiming at strengthening the other factors (where possible). However to address hidden hunger (micronutrient malnutrition), more specific measures are needed – such as biofortification, food fortification, or dietary supplementation. 
 
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Climate change could raise food insecurity risk - U Exeter

Climate change could raise food insecurity risk - U Exeter | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Weather extremes caused by climate change could raise the risk of food shortages in many countries... The study... examined how climate change could affect the vulnerability of different countries to food insecurity – when people lack access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Scientists looked at the difference between global warming of 1.5°C and 2°C and found that – despite increased vulnerability to food insecurity in both scenarios – the effects would be worse for most countries at 2°C. The study looked at 122 developing and least-developed countries, mostly in Asia, Africa and South America.

“Climate change is expected to lead to more extremes of both heavy rainfall and drought, with different effects in different parts of the world... Such weather extremes can increase vulnerability to food insecurity. Some change is already unavoidable, but if global warming is limited to 1.5°C, this vulnerability is projected to remain smaller than at 2°C in approximately 76% of developing countries.”

Warming is expected to lead to wetter conditions on average – with floods putting food production at risk – but agriculture could also be harmed by more frequent and prolonged droughts in some areas.

Wetter conditions are expected to have the biggest impact in South and East Asia, with the most extreme projections suggesting the flow of the River Ganges could more than double at 2°C global warming. The areas worst affected by droughts are expected to be southern Africa and South America – where flows in the Amazon are projected to decline by up to 25%... 


http://www.exeter.ac.uk/news/featurednews/title_649617_en.html


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1098/rsta.2016.0452


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
 
And in our own recent study, we found that food security is higher in temperate-zone climates, i.e. also that study suggests that if the climate becomes less temperate, the risk of food insecurity is set to rise: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2018.03.004
 
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Food Waste: The Biggest Loss Could be What You Choose to Put in Your Mouth - Weizmann Inst. 

Food Waste: The Biggest Loss Could be What You Choose to Put in Your Mouth - Weizmann Inst.  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

About a third of the food produced for human consumption is estimated to be lost or wasted globally. But the biggest waste, which is not even included in this estimate, may be through dietary choices that result in the squandering of environmental resources. In a study... researchers at the Weizmann Institute... found a novel way to define and quantify this second type of wastage. The scientists have called it “opportunity food loss,” a term inspired by the “opportunity cost” concept in economics, which refers to the cost of choosing a particular alternative over better options.

Opportunity food loss stems from using agricultural land to produce animal-based food instead of nutritionally comparable plant-based alternatives. The researchers report that in the United States alone, avoiding opportunity food loss – that is, replacing all animal-based items with edible crops for human consumption – would add enough food to feed 350 million additional people... with the same land resources. “Our analysis has shown that favoring a plant-based diet can potentially yield more food than eliminating all the conventionally defined causes of food loss”... 


The scientists compared the resources needed to produce five major categories of animal-based food – beef, pork, dairy, poultry and eggs – with the resources required to grow edible crops of similar nutritional value in terms of protein, calorie and micronutrients. They found that plant-based replacements could produce two- to 20-fold more protein per acre. 


The most dramatic results were obtained for beef. The researchers compared it with a mix of crops – soya, potatoes, cane sugar, peanuts and garlic – that deliver a similar nutritional profile when taken together in the right proportions. The land area that could produce 100 grams of protein from these crops would yield only 4 grams... from beef... Using agricultural land for producing beef instead of replacement crops results in an opportunity food loss of 96 grams – that is, a loss of 96% – per unit of land... The potential gain from diverting agricultural land from beef to plant-based foods for human consumption would be enormous.

The estimated losses from failing to replace other animal-based foods with nutritionally similar crops were also huge: 90% for pork, 75% for dairy, 50% for poultry and 40% for eggs... “Opportunity food loss must be taken into account if we want to make dietary choices enhancing global food security”... 


https://wis-wander.weizmann.ac.il/earth-sciences/food-waste-biggest-loss-could-be-what-you-choose-put-your-mouth


Underlying study: https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1713820115

 

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Global Report on Food Crises finds that in 2017 major famines were partly averted but food security remains critical - EU

The Global Report on Food Crises indicates that major risks of famine were averted in 2017 in the four countries that were declared at risk in early 2017: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and North Nigeria. However, it also highlights the severity and the complexity of food crises around the world... 

"In 2017, the Global Report on Food Crises alerted us about the risk of famines in a number of partner countries. Thanks to local and international efforts, including in the most critical hotspots, we were able to avert major famines. But let us be clear: we still have huge challenges ahead of us, and the EU will continue to work relentlessly for food security around the world"...  

"Food crises remain one of the most pressing catastrophes worldwide. In Africa alone, over a hundred million people are facing food insecurity with some on the brink of famine. Unfortunately, there is no simple solution... the annual report on food crises will help us diagnose the problems correctly and propose the best policies." 

"World hunger is on the rise again. The EU is one of the world's leading donors in humanitarian food assistance. We are now strengthening a coordinated response, covering humanitarian and development aspects, to face the increasing complexity of crises. It is only by working together that we can become the architects of a future without hunger".

The report shows that, in 2017, almost 124 million people faced levels of acute food insecurity or worse. The report finds that in the future, food crises are likely to become more acute, persistent and complex. Among the main root causes for severe food insecurity, it cites conflict, extreme climatic events and excessive prices of staple foods... often acting together.

To tackle the root causes of these pressing challenges, the EU is working to implement a long term strategy, taking into account humanitarian aid, development assistance and peace building support in an integrated way – and thereby increasing the resilience of people and communities in partner countries.

To implement this long term strategy, the European Union supports measures to improve food and nutrition security and sustainable agriculture in over 60 partner countries, providing approximately €8.5 billion of funding between 2014 and 2020. For the four major food crises in 2017... the European Union contributed over €750 million... and EU Member States additionally provided over €1 billion.

The Global Report on Food Crises provides a comprehensive picture of the severity and magnitude of acute food insecurity and malnutrition in 51 countries and territories, with in-depth analysis of 26 hotspots. The knowledge it provides will steer our work to prevent food crises, as well as to develop appropriate, sustainable and joint responses to food insecurity... 

The new report... identifies crucial countries and regions where assistance should be prioritized to bridge the gap between emergency and development operations. Moreover, it allows joint planning for the short-medium-long term with the aim to strengthen resilience. 


http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-18-2302_en.htm

 

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Achieving healthy, climate-friendly, affordable diets in India - IIASA

Achieving healthy, climate-friendly, affordable diets in India - IIASA | Food Policy | Scoop.it

New research led by IIASA researcher Narasimha Rao has shown how it might be possible to reduce micronutrient deficiencies in India in an affordable way whilst also reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Rao and the team used the National Sample Survey of Consumption Expenditure in India to examine Indian diets, and found that more than two-thirds of the Indian population, around 500 million people, are affected by deficiencies in micronutrients such as protein, iron, zinc, and vitamin A, which contributes to lower life expectancies. Iron deficiencies in particular are close to 90%, vitamin A deficiencies stand at around 85% and more than 50% of diets are protein-deficient.

India has the second lowest per capita meat consumption in the world and most Indians have a largely vegetarian diet, with low bioavailability of iron. In addition, in many areas of India, polished white rice, which has little nutrient content, is predominant in diets, partly due to food subsidies which make it cheaper than other coarse cereals.

Micronutrient deficiencies are worse in urban than in rural areas, and as may be expected, are worse in lower-income households. There is some regional variation in the data. In the northern and western areas, where a wheat-based diet is more common, nutrient deficiencies are lower than in the south and east of India, where rice is more predominant...  

Rao... compared nutritional information for different food types... as well as looking at the cost to households and the greenhouse gas emissions... at current prices households can affordably improve micronutrition by moving away from consuming white, polished rice and instead choose wheat, maize, and millet products, and choose chicken and legumes over beef and eggs to boost protein intake. Adding green leafy vegetables and coconut would also reduce deficiencies cost-effectively...  

These diet changes would reduce overall greenhouse gas emissions, due predominantly to rice production’s high methane emissions... Policymakers should consider introducing subsidies for nutrition- and climate-friendly food products such as coarse cereals, pulses, and dark green vegetables... 


The insights provided by the research on the possible improvements to diet also hold true outside India... 


http://www.iiasa.ac.at/web/home/about/news/180320_rao_nutrition_india.html


Underlying study: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2018.02.013


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20 percent of Americans responsible for almost half of US food-related greenhouse gas emissions - U Michigan

20 percent of Americans responsible for almost half of US food-related greenhouse gas emissions - U Michigan | Food Policy | Scoop.it

20 percent of Americans account for nearly half of U.S. diet-related greenhouse gas emissions, and high levels of beef consumption are largely responsible... 


To estimate the impact of U.S. dietary choices on greenhouse gas emissions, the researchers built a database that assessed the environmental impacts involved in producing more than 300 types of foods. Then they linked the database to the findings of a nationally representative, one-day dietary recall survey... 

They ranked the diets by their associated greenhouse gas emissions, from lowest to highest, then divided them into five equal groups... The researchers found that the 20 percent of U.S. diets with the highest carbon footprint accounted for 46 percent of total diet-related greenhouse emissions.

The highest-impact group was responsible for about eight times more emissions than the lowest quintile of diets. And beef consumption accounted for 72 percent of the emissions difference between the highest and lowest groups... 

"A big take home message for me is the fact that high-impact diets are such a large part of the overall contribution to food-related greenhouse gases"... 

The study estimated the greenhouse gas emissions associated with food production only. Emissions related to the processing, packaging, distribution, refrigeration and cooking of those foods were not part of the study but would likely increase total emissions by 30 percent or more... 

"Reducing the impact of our diets—by eating fewer calories and less animal-based foods—could achieve significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. It's climate action that is accessible to everyone, because we all decide on a daily basis what we eat"... 

If Americans in the highest-impact group shifted their diets to align with the U.S. average—by consuming fewer overall calories and relying less on meat—the one-day greenhouse-gas emissions reduction would be equivalent to eliminating 661 million passenger-vehicle miles... 

That hypothetical diet shift, if implemented every day of the year and accompanied by equivalent shifts in domestic food production, would achieve nearly 10 percent of the emissions reductions needed for the United States to meet its targets under the Paris climate accord... 


Animal-based foods are responsible for more greenhouse gas emissions per pound than plant-based foods. The production of both beef cattle and dairy cows is tied to especially high emissions levels.

For starters, cows don't efficiently convert plant-based feed into muscle or milk, so they must eat lots of feed. Growing that feed often involves... energy-intensive processes. And then there's the fuel used by farm equipment. In addition, cows burp lots of methane, and their manure also releases this potent greenhouse gas.

"Previous studies of diet-related greenhouse gas emissions have focused mainly on the average diet in a given country. This study is the first in the United States to look instead at self-reported dietary choices of a nationally representative sample of thousands of Americans"... 


By linking their database of environmental impacts to the individual, self-reported diets... researchers were able to estimate the distribution of diet-related impacts across the entire U.S. population... 


Americans in the highest-impact quintile consumed more than twice as many calories on a given day—2,984 versus 1,323—than those in the bottom 20 percent. But even when the findings were adjusted for caloric intake, the highest-impact quintile was still responsible for five times more emissions... 

Meat accounted for 70 percent of the food-associated greenhouse gas emissions in the highest-impact group but only 27 percent in the lowest-impact group. 


http://ns.umich.edu/new/releases/25498-20-percent-of-americans-responsible-for-almost-half-of-us-food-related-greenhouse-gas-emissions


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/aab0ac


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Biofortification, Crop Adoption and Health Information: Impact Pathways in Mozambique and Uganda - AJAE

Biofortification, Crop Adoption and Health Information: Impact Pathways in Mozambique and Uganda - AJAE | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Biofortification is a promising strategy to combat micronutrient malnutrition by promoting... staple food crops bred to be dense sources of specific micronutrients. Research on biofortified orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) has shown that the crop improves the vitamin A status of children who consume as little as 100 grams per day, and intensive promotion strategies improve dietary intakes of vitamin A in field experiments. However, little is known about OFSP adoption behavior, or about the role that nutrition information plays in promoting adoption and changing diet. 


We report evidence from similar randomized field experiments conducted in Mozambique and Uganda to promote OFSP. We further use causal mediation analysis to study impact pathways for adoption and dietary intakes. Despite different agronomic conditions and sweet potato cropping patterns across the two countries, the project had similar impacts, leading to adoption by 61% to 68% of farmers exposed to the project, and doubling vitamin A intakes in children. 


In both countries, two intervention models that differed in training intensity and cost had comparable impacts relative to the control group. The project increased the knowledge of key nutrition messages; however, added knowledge of nutrition messages appears to have minimally affected adoption... Increased vitamin A intakes were largely explained by adoption and not by nutrition knowledge gained... Similar impacts could likely have been achieved by reducing the scope of nutrition trainings. 


https://doi.org/10.1093/ajae/aay005


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How Can Trade Help Africa Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? - ICTSD (2018)

How Can Trade Help Africa Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals? - ICTSD (2018) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Beyond its effect on incomes, trade can also have significant developmental impacts through its influence on the price, quantity, and quality of goods available within markets. How can African countries use trade policy to improve their population’s access to products that are important from a sustainable development perspective?

The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commit developed and developing countries alike to an ambitious agenda of progress across the full spectrum of development issues. Rightly, there is no trade goal: trade is a means to an end, not an end in itself. But it is recognised as an important “means of implementation,” although subsequent work on targets and indicators has left much to be desired from the perspective of trade economists.

The standard argument long put forward by economists linking trade with development runs through the channel of income. Trade openness promotes specialisation by comparative advantage and supports productivity gains at an economy-wide level. To the extent that these gains translate into higher incomes, they provide countries with the necessary means to move forward on other aspects of development, such as health and education.

However, the literature linking trade and income growth is highly controversial. On balance, most trade economists agree that openness is a necessary but not sufficient condition for development gains. Some development specialists in other fields are skeptical even of that claim. 


That is why... Ben Shepherd and I have chosen to focus on the non-income linkages between trade and development. In other words, we look for instances where trade can help reduce the prices and increase the availability of goods or services that are important from a sustainable development perspective... Leading trade experts... discuss in what ways good trade policy, which supports efficiency in resource allocation, can also be good development policy. As African countries integrate further into the world economy, such an alternative approach to exploring the trade and development nexus is important, as it suggests that in addition to promoting income growth and structural change, trade can also create important development benefits in a range of other areas... 

First, although some in the development community are skeptical of trade benefits, we would emphasise that this skepticism is typically due to the process of result and counter-result that played out in the now superseded literature on openness and growth. Before it affects incomes, trade influences prices, quantities, and quality of goods available within markets. As such, there is scope to use trade liberalisation to improve these variables in areas that matter for development, such as health and education (trade in services). We believe there is a strong case for individual countries to identify lists of development products – those that are consumed relatively intensively by the poor or historically marginalised communities, as well as those with direct application in sectors like health and education – and to liberalise them unilaterally. Doing so will increase availability and reduce prices for consumers. In some cases, this process will need to be done carefully, especially when poor local producers may stand to lose out. So it is not a simple process, but the analysis is worthwhile undertaking.

Second, although policymakers focus on the gains that can come from exporting, trade economists often emphasise the virtues of importing. Indeed, the indicators assembled by the UN to track progress on the SDGs are quite mercantilist in their treatment of trade, in the sense that they focus on export growth, but say nothing about import growth. In reality, these two margins move together: large exporters are also large importers. But more fundamentally, it is important for policymakers in Africa and elsewhere to realise that tariff barriers and unnecessary non-tariff measures restrict the ability of the people they serve to access sometimes vital goods – such as food and products used in the health sector. As far as these products are concerned, there is a clear case for reform.

African countries have done much over recent years to liberalise their import regimes, and this stands to their credit. Nevertheless, increased attention to the non-income effects of trade policy can help inform their continued moves towards leveraging trade to support development. Trade can not only help promote structural change and income growth, but also support development in a very immediate, human sense. 


https://www.ictsd.org/bridges-news/bridges-africa/news/how-can-trade-help-africa-achieve-the-sustainable-development-goals


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Tapping the economic and nutritional power of vegetables - GFS (2018) 

Tapping the economic and nutritional power of vegetables - GFS (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Vegetables are increasingly recognized as essential for food and nutrition security. Vegetable production provides a promising economic opportunity for reducing rural poverty and unemployment in developing countries and is a key component of farm diversification strategies. Vegetables are mankind's most affordable source of vitamins and minerals needed for good health. Today, neither the economic nor nutritional power of vegetables is sufficiently realized. 


To tap the economic power of vegetables, governments will need to increase their investment in farm productivity (including improved varieties, alternatives to chemical pesticides, and the use of protected cultivation), good postharvest management, food safety, and market access. 


To tap the nutritional power of vegetables, consumers need to know how vegetables contribute to health, and find them at affordable prices or be able to grow them themselves. Vegetable consumption must therefore be nurtured through a combination of supply-side interventions and behavioral change communication emphasizing the importance of eating vegetables for good nutrition and health. 


To fully tap the economic and nutritional power of vegetables, governments and donors will need to give vegetables much greater priority than they currently receive. Now is the time to prioritize investments in vegetables, providing increased economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and providing healthy diets for all.


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2017.09.005


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Trade-offs between environment and livelihoods: Bridging the global land use and food security discussions - GFS (2018) 

Trade-offs between environment and livelihoods: Bridging the global land use and food security discussions - GFS (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

This paper connects the discussion on the trade-offs between agricultural production and environmental concerns, including the asserted need for global land use expansion, and the issues of rural livelihoods and food security. Several widespread narratives are challenged. The key insights are: 

1/ There is a severe research gap about how concrete interventions can reduce the need for agricultural expansion through changing consumption. 

2/ Increasing global food production can hardly be achieved without environmental trade-offs. 

3/ The food security/environment trade-offs can be mitigated by recognizing that some supply chains benefit little to food security, while entailing high environmental impacts such as deforestation. 

4/ Through prices, global food production is linked to food security of the - mainly urban - low income, net food buyers. 

5/ Developing commercial farming, including medium-scale farms providing high labor productivity employment, can contribute to food security through rural wages. 

6/ Developing such value chains based on commodities with high income- and price-elasticity of demand requires interventions to avoid deforestation through a rebound-effect. 


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2017.08.001



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Opportunities and Challenges for Research on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture in Europe - EASAC (2018) 

Opportunities and Challenges for Research on Food and Nutrition Security and Agriculture in Europe - EASAC (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

National academies of science have a long tradition of engaging widely to strengthen the evidence base to underpin the delivery of enhanced food and nutrition security at regional and national levels. EASAC, the European Academies Science Advisory Council, has produced this report for European audiences as a contribution to a project worldwide initiated by IAP, the InterAcademy Partnership, the global network of science academies. The IAP work brings together regional perspectives in parallel from Africa, Asia, the Americas and Europe on the opportunities for the science-policy interface, identifying how research can contribute to resolving challenges for agriculture, food systems and nutrition.

This EASAC report combines analysis of the current status in Europe with exploration of ways forward. Overconsumption of calorie-dense foods leading to overweight and obesity creates a major public health problem in Europe but Europeans are not immune from other concerns about food and nutrition security and must also recognise the impact of their activities on the rest of the world. EASAC defines the goal of food and nutrition security as providing access for all to a healthy and affordable diet that is environmentally sustainable. We recognise the necessity to take account of diversity: in food systems and dietary intakes within and between countries, and in the variability of nutrient requirements in vulnerable groups within populations and across the individual's lifecycle. 


In our report we take an integrative food systems approach to cover inter-related issues for resource efficiency, environmental stability, resilience and the public health agenda, also addressing issues for local–global interconnectedness of systems. Setting priorities for increasing agricultural production through sustainable intensification must take account of pressures on other critical natural resources, particularly water, soil and energy, and the continuing need to avoid further loss in ecosystem biodiversity. Dealing with food and nutrition security must include both supply-side and demand-side issues: reducing food waste and changing to healthier consumption patterns will reduce pressure on land and other resources. 


The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Convention on Climate Change objectives provide critically important general frameworks for meeting the challenges to food and nutrition security but mandate renewed engagement by science to clarify trade-offs among goals and address the complexities of evidencebased policies and programmes. For example, it is becoming clearer that climate change will have negative impacts on food systems in various ways, necessitating the introduction of climate-smart agriculture (such as the adoption of plant breeding innovations to cope with drought) but also that agriculture itself contributes substantially to climate change. Mitigating this contribution depends on climate-smart food systems (such as land-sparing and agronomic management practices) together with efforts to influence consumer behaviours associated with excessive agricultural greenhouse gas emissions (overconsumption of calories and high meat intake). Therefore, taking account of the accruing scientific evidence, changing dietary consumption could bring co-benefits to health and to climate change. 


In our report we have focused on scientific opportunities: how the current scientific evidence base can shape understanding of challenges by the public, serve as a resource for innovation, and inform policy options, and what the research agenda should be to fill current knowledge gaps. It is urgent to continue to build critical mass in research and innovation and to mobilise that resource in advising policymakers and other stakeholders. We emphasise the vitally important role of basic research in characterising new frontiers in science and of long-term commitment to investing in research to enable, establish and evaluate innovation. This innovation must encompass social and institutional, as well as technological, innovation. 


We frame our specific recommendations within the context of strategic dimensions that determine a wide range of actions in science and policy…


http://www.interacademies.org/38802/EASAC-Opportunities-and-Challenges-for-Research-on-Food-and-Nutrition-Security-and-Agriculture-in-Europe-


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What does eating meat have to do with extreme weather conditions like this week's snowstorms? Quite a lot, actually

What does eating meat have to do with extreme weather conditions like this week's snowstorms? Quite a lot, actually | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Reducing meat production and meat eating has the potential to avert climate catastrophe. That sounds dramatic, but consider the facts. Livestock farming is responsible for as much as 14.5 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions – higher than all forms of transport combined. And a recent report... revealed that the top five meat and dairy corporations have higher greenhouse gas emissions than oil giant Exxon...  

Just 5 per cent of European consumers in 2016 followed a vegetarian diet compared with 19 per cent in Asia. And to feed the animals that eventually end up as meat on our plates requires the import of vast amounts of protein crops – especially soy – in the form of animal feed... 

The UK climate provides the perfect conditions for growing plant protein – largely peas and beans – for direct human consumption... They add essential nitrogen to soil, provide food beneficial to insects and are highly nutritious. Hemp seeds are another. They can be grown almost anywhere, require low inputs of fertiliser, herbicides or pesticides and need little water, land and maintenance. Despite the potential, for farmers and consumers alike, the UK currently only assigns about 16 per cent of agricultural land to the growing of protein crops... 

For consumers, protein crops offer a more affordable source of protein than meat with many health benefits including being a good source of iron and fibre... There would also be huge environmental benefits, from reduced methane emissions (from farms) and carbon emissions (from transporting animals) through to protecting forests and wildlife from massive monoculture plantations... 

Changing the way we grow, produce and eat food... is also one of the easier ways we can transition to a low carbon economy and lifestyle. We just need the right economic incentives and political will to make it happen. 


http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/uk-weather-snow-extremes-cold-meat-eating-climate-change-methane-cattle-cows-a8234236.html


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Bringing it all together: linking measures to secure nations’ food supply - Curr Opinion Env Sustain (2018) 

Bringing it all together: linking measures to secure nations’ food supply - Curr Opinion Env Sustain (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

A growing human population and changing consumption patterns threaten adequate food supply globally by increasing pressure on already scarce land and water resources. Various measures have been suggested to sustainably secure future food supply: diet change, food loss reduction and closing the yield gap of nutrients as well as water... 


We carry out a review and integration of this literature to provide a first estimate of the combined potential of these measures at country level. The overall potential increase in global food supply was estimated to be 111% and 223% at moderate and high implementation levels, respectively. 


Projected global food demand in 2050 could thus be met, but deficiencies in various countries in Africa and the Middle East appear inevitable without changes to trade or adapting with future innovations... 


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2018.01.006


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
So, roughly, the poorer a country, the more potential there is for closing the yield gap (i.e. for a technological solution to increase food supply), and the richer a country is, the bigger the potential impact of dietary change away from animal products (i.e. of behaviour modification to reduce demand). Interestingly, food loss has only a minor impact whatever the scenario. Also, the authors only considered macronutrients and not micronutrients, i.e. meeting global food demand that ensures also nutrition security may be more difficult or require higher implementation levels. 
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Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Agronomic Iodine Biofortification: A SWOT-AHP Analysis in Northern Uganda - MDPI

Stakeholders’ Perceptions of Agronomic Iodine Biofortification: A SWOT-AHP Analysis in Northern Uganda - MDPI | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Agronomic biofortification (i.e., the application of fertilizer to elevate micronutrient concentrations in staple crops) is a recent strategy recommended for controlling Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDDs). However, its success inevitably depends on stakeholders’ appreciation and acceptance of it. By taking Northern Uganda as a case, this study aimed to capture and compare the perceptions of seven key stakeholder groups with respect to agronomic iodine biofortification...


We employed a SWOT (Strength, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats) analysis in combination with an Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP). Findings show that stakeholders (n = 56) are generally positive about agronomic iodine biofortification in Uganda, as its strengths and opportunities outweighed weaknesses and threats. 


Cultural acceptance and effectiveness are considered the most important strengths while the high IDD prevalence rate and the availability of iodine deficient soils are key opportunities for further developing agronomic iodine biofortification. Environmental concerns about synthetic fertilizers as well as the time needed to supply iodine were considered crucial weaknesses. The limited use of fertilizer in Uganda was the main threat... 


http://doi.org/10.3390/nu10040407



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We Are Headed for a World Food Crisis. Here's How to Stop It - Time

We Are Headed for a World Food Crisis. Here's How to Stop It - Time | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The world currently produces more than enough food to feed everyone, yet 815 million people (roughly 11% of the global population) went hungry in 2016... By 2050, with the global population expected to reach 9.8 billion, our food supplies will be under far greater stress. Demand will be 60% higher than it is today, but climate change, urbanization, and soil degradation will have shrunk the availability of arable land... Add water shortages, pollution, and worsening inequality into the mix and the implications are stark.

Among those trying to mitigate the risk of collapse is Richard Deverell, director of Britain’s Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. The gardens, which house “the largest and most diverse botanical and mycological collections in the world” are a key resource for scientists studying a multitude of food security issues: from wild rice varieties that require less water than their domestic counterpart to the proclivity of enset, a banana-like plant... The gardens also host the Millennium Seed Bank... an “insurance policy” against the extinction of plants in the wild...  

Food security is a really serious issue facing all of humanity. In essence, it’s about how we feed a growing population at a time of climate change, which is unpredictable and not fully understood. Globally, we are reliant on a very slender thread of genetic diversity... more than 50% of all human calories come from just three plants: rice, maize, and wheat... only 12 crops account for 75% of all human calories. 


If a particular pest or pathogen arises, or a particular vulnerability to changing climates, the entire crop becomes vulnerable because of the lack of genetic variability within it... But... there are solutions if we make the right decisions now. There are about 5,500 different varieties of edible plants, and yet we have found ourselves concentrating on a very narrow selection. 


Another factor is the balance of vegetable-based diets versus meat-based diets... One of the greatest causes of biodiversity loss and therefore extinction is the conversion of forest and woodland into grazing for cattle. A kilogram of beef is about 30-times more demanding on the environment than a kilogram of plant protein. For a sustainable future, I suspect that quite radical change to our diets is needed. One of the pressures is that developing societies are shifting to a meat-based diet. If the populations of India or China were to adopt the same meat-rich diet as America that would be extremely demanding on global resources... 


The campaign should start with consumers being made aware of what they’re eating and the consequences of that. Do people understand that eating beef is significantly more demanding on the environment than eating pork or chicken? Do people know where their food is coming from? But we are already seeing an uptick in interest in vegan and vegetarian diets – or perhaps eating vegetarian meals three or five times per week...  

“Meatless meats” are gaining traction but there’s also resistance to the idea of eating food grown in test tubes... There will always be resistance to new technologies. But it’s interesting because they are marketing plant-based burgers not to vegans or vegetarians, but to people who enjoy a beef burger. They are basically saying: try this, this tastes just as good, it’s healthier for you, it’s less expensive and it’s certainly a lot better for the environment. 


Genetic modification (GM) is another issue where a poor public understanding of the underlying technology has led to an understandable concern. It’s often alleged that GM is not natural. Well, orthodox agriculture is not natural, it’s extremely damaging to the environment and if GM crops can be produced that require less herbicide, or pesticide, or water, then I think we as a society have to understand that there are some benefits involved... Our diet evolves all the time: 30 years ago an avocado was a very rare and exotic thing in Britain, and bananas only appeared after the Second World War...  


http://time.com/5216532/global-food-security-richard-deverell/


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Mapping child growth failure in Africa between 2000 and 2015 - Nature 

Mapping child growth failure in Africa between 2000 and 2015 - Nature  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Insufficient growth during childhood is associated with poor health outcomes and an increased risk of death. Between 2000 and 2015, nearly all African countries demonstrated improvements for children under 5 years old for stunting, wasting, and underweight, the core components of child growth failure. 


Here we show that striking subnational heterogeneity in levels and trends of child growth remains. If current rates of progress are sustained, many areas of Africa will meet the... Global Targets 2025 to improve maternal, infant and young child nutrition, but high levels of growth failure will persist across the Sahel. At these rates, much, if not all of the continent will fail to meet the Sustainable Development Goal target—to end malnutrition by 2030. 


Geospatial estimates of child growth failure provide a baseline for measuring progress as well as a precision public health platform to target interventions to those populations with the greatest need, in order to reduce health disparities and accelerate progress.


http://doi.org/10.1038/nature25760


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impact of cash transfers on social determinants of health and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review - Oxford Academic

impact of cash transfers on social determinants of health and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa: a systematic review - Oxford Academic | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Cash transfers (CTs)... have the potential to address the social determinants of health (SDoH) and health inequalities. A systematic review was conducted to synthesise the evidence on CTs’ impacts on SDoH and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa, and to identify the barriers and facilitators of effective CTs... 


The review found that CTs can be effective in tackling structural determinants of health such as financial poverty, education, household resilience, child labour, social capital and social cohesion, civic participation, and birth registration. The review further found that CTs modify intermediate determinants such as nutrition, dietary diversity, child deprivation, sexual risk behaviours, teen pregnancy and early marriage. 


In conjunction with their influence on SDoH, there is moderate evidence from the review that CTs impact on health and quality of life outcomes... Many factors relating to intervention design features, macro-economic stability, household dynamics and community acceptance of programs... could influence the effectiveness of CTs. The external validity of the review findings is strong as the findings are largely consistent with those from Latin America...  


https://doi.org/10.1093/heapol/czy020

 

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Climate change and protectionism could harm efforts to feed the world - Reuters 

Climate change and protectionism could harm efforts to feed the world - Reuters  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Rising protectionist and anti-trade sentiments threaten efforts to curb malnutrition even as more people go hungry and climate pressures rise... The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) noted the benefits of a free flow of goods - it improves the availability of food and keeps supplies stable, which prevents droughts from becoming famines. It also helps nutrition by ensuring food variety.

“A longer-term issue is that everyone ends up poorer if you don’t allow trade”... limiting trade would result in high prices in land-scarce countries, depressed food prices in countries with plenty of land, and lower incomes in both. “It is totally a lose-lose situation”... incidences of famine had reduced in India after railways expanded in the late 19th century, facilitating national trade... 

Hunger fueled by conflict - and made worse by drought - would add to the challenges of feeding people, as would climate change... “This report is absolutely correct: robust, well-functioning global food markets are our best hope for meeting the needs of a growing, increasingly urban world”... 


Critics of trade say it increases inequality, damages the environment and leads to unhealthy diets. Rather than trade barriers... IFPRI said, safety nets, better management of resources and policies to tackle unhealthy foods would help... increasing protectionist tendencies... “undermine support for multilateral forums, such as the World Trade Organization, where developing countries can increase their bargaining power by banding together”... 


https://www.reuters.com/article/us-global-agriculture-trade/idUSKBN1GW0CI


Underlying report: http://gfpr.ifpri.info

 

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Alleviating hunger through biofortification - Dawn

Alleviating hunger through biofortification - Dawn | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Almost two billion people in the world face hidden hunger or micronutrient deficiencies because essential vitamins and minerals are missing from their diet.

Deficiencies of micronutrients like iron, zinc and vitamin A may lead to stunted growth, poor cognitive development, increased risk of infections, and among women it may cause complications during pregnancy and childbirth. 


In Pakistan, where an overwhelming majority of people live in rural areas, around 80 per cent of the population suffer from hidden hunger.

Short-term strategies being used the world over to overcome micronutrient deficiencies include food supplements and food fortification. But both these approaches are expensive as they require repeated investment.

Supplements do treat multiple micronutrient deficiencies, but the strategy is resource-intensive and does not tackle the real cause of the problem: dietary inadequacy.

Some private-sector companies have been offering fortified wheat flour and food products like bread. But they meet the requirements of a limited, especially well-off, people as the poorest families do not have access to commercially processed foods.

Agriculture authorities in Punjab have recently planned an intervention for... those affected the most by hidden hunger. The Rs3.5 billion biofortification project aims at enhancing nutrition of staple crops, fruits, vegetables... Under the five-year plan, iron and zinc-enriched, disease-resistant and high-yielding wheat, rice, maize, canola and citrus varieties will be developed... 


Most Pakistanis cannot afford costly food supplements and mostly use wheat flour as their daily diet. Therefore, the institute plans to develop wheat varieties that are rich in iron and zinc.

Being a lengthy process is the only disadvantage of this strategy, as developing an iron- and zinc-rich variety may take eight to 10 years, he says. As a medium-term measure, studies are being conducted to find out fertilisers that may increase iron and zinc contents in the crop through soil application. This approach may take around three years.

In the short run, efforts are afoot to develop products which can be mixed with flour to increase the volume of micronutrients... the enhanced level of iron, zinc and vitamins will not affect the flavour and colour of food products... 

https://www.dawn.com/news/1396085


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Review: Taking stock of Africa’s second-generation agricultural input subsidy programs - Food Pol (2018) 

Review: Taking stock of Africa’s second-generation agricultural input subsidy programs - Food Pol (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Input subsidy programs (ISPs) remain one of the most contentiously debated development issues in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). After ISPs were phased out during the 1980s and 1990s, the landscape has changed profoundly since the early 2000s. By 2010, at least 10 African governments initiated a new wave of subsidy programs that were designed to overcome past performance challenges. 


This study provides the most comprehensive review of recent evidence to date regarding the performance of these second generation ISPs, synthesizing nearly 80 ISP-related studies from seven countries (Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, and Ethiopia). We specifically evaluate ISP impacts on total fertilizer use, food production, commercial input distribution systems, food prices, wages, and poverty. We also consider measures that could enable ISPs to more cost-effectively achieve their objectives. 


We find that ISPs can quickly raise national food production, and that receiving subsidized inputs raises beneficiary households’ grain yields and production levels at least in the short-term. However, the overall production and welfare effects of subsidy programs tend to be smaller than expected. 


Two characteristics of program implementation consistently mitigate the intended effects of ISPs: (1) subsidy programs partially crowd out commercial fertilizer demand due to difficulties associated with targeting and sale of inputs by program implementers, and (2) lower than expected crop yield response to fertilizer on smallholder-managed fields... 


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.foodpol.2018.01.003


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The multibillion dollar question: How much will it cost to end hunger and undernutrition? - Reuters (2018) 

The multibillion dollar question: How much will it cost to end hunger and undernutrition? - Reuters (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

World leaders have committed to ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030 as part of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Yet we are not on track to achieve the goal—in fact hunger, measured as caloric deficiency, rose in 2016 after more than a decade of impressive progress. More than 150 million children are stunted. More investments are needed to end hunger—but how much will it cost? Multiple approaches exist to end hunger and reduce undernutrition... leading to a wide range of costs: Estimates range from $7 billion to $265 billion per year. This may sound like a lot, but... the costs are far outstripped by potential benefits in terms of boost to the global productivity and GDP.

Here’s a look at the differences in four models and frameworks that estimate the cost of ending hunger, including one that examines the cost of reducing undernutrition. The first approach is the one followed by the Rome-based United Nations agencies, namely, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and World Food Programme (WFP) that follow the model of ending hunger by ending poverty first. These three... peg the annual cost of ‘achieving zero hunger’ at $265 billion a year through spending in measures like poverty gap transfers, pro-poor public investment in irrigation, genetic resources, mechanization, agro-processing, infrastructure and institutions, among others.

The two models that the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is looking at are: Reducing hunger by improving agricultural productivity in the context of climate change (IMPACT model); and ending hunger by targeting vulnerable households (MIRAGRODEP model in partnership with International Institute for Sustainable Development). Of these two approaches, the first one looks at making investments in agricultural R&D, irrigation expansion, water use efficiency, soil management, and infrastructure at an annual cost of $52 billion, whereas the latter focuses on investments in social safety nets, farm support and rural development at an annual cost of $11 billion... 

Instead of focusing on hunger, the second approach, followed by the World Bank, focuses on reducing undernutrition through select nutrition interventions (Investment Framework for Nutrition). The Bank estimates that it will cost nearly $7 billion a year by investing in targeted nutrition and nutrition sensitive interventions such as staple food fortification and pro-breastfeeding policies to meet its undernutrition reduction target by 2025.

Ending hunger and malnutrition has significant benefits that include increased productivity and better health, more peaceful and stable communities and households, and improved educational attainment. Some of these benefits can be expressed in economic terms: new research shows that eliminating global hunger would boost global GDP by $276 billion in 2030, equivalent to 0.5 percent of expected total developing country GDP for 2030. For some countries severely affected by hunger today, such as Ethiopia and Zambia, the gains would range between 4 and 6 percent of national GDP... 


Regionally... South Asia stands to gain the most if stunting levels are reduced in the next couple of years. A decline in stunting in South Asia by 8.8 percentage points from 2015 levels by 2025 and 12.8 percentage points by 2030, results in a total increase in productivity, summed over a generation of $1,497 billion. This figure alone is more than one-half the Gross National Income of the region in 2015 ($2,742 billion).

Ending hunger and malnutrition is a moral imperative, and these models show that ending hunger can bring about the end of other major problems in global development, and usher in numerous social and economic benefits to the world. By boosting investments, we can better strive to end hunger and malnutrition and achieve many of the interconnected SDGs.


http://news.trust.org//item/20180313162224-jqsvk/


Alexander J. Stein's insight:
The estimated costs of ending hunger of $7-265 billion per year (reported here) have to be seen in the context of an estimated cost of hunger of up to $2 trillion per year (http://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2014.09.003), which would be saved if hunger was ended. 
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Nutrition sensitive value chains: Theory, progress, and open questions - GFS (2018)

Nutrition sensitive value chains: Theory, progress, and open questions - GFS (2018) | Food Policy | Scoop.it

The second Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) challenges the world to achieve food security and improve nutrition by 2030 but food insecurity and micronutrient deficiencies remain stubbornly high and rates of overweight and obesity are rising throughout the world. To attain SDG 2, food systems must deliver more nutritious food to populations. For food systems to do so, value chains for micronutrient-rich foods must be improved, making such foods more available and affordable to consumers. 


In this paper, we take a consumer focus on the value chains to consider the types of interventions that could lead to improved intakes of micronutrient-rich foods, and review the present literature on the types of value chain assessments, interventions, and initiatives that are attempting to improve nutrition as well as potential future directions.


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.gfs.2017.07.002


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A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity - AlphaGalileo (2018) 

A global conflict: agricultural production vs. biodiversity - AlphaGalileo (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Smart land-use planning could ease the conflict between agricultural production and nature conservation. A team of researchers... integrated global datasets on the geographical distributions and ecological requirements of thousands of animal species with detailed information on the production of the world’s major agricultural crops...  

Increasing agricultural production usually leads to various negative side effects in agricultural landscapes, such as local decline in wildlife and loss of ecosystem functions. But what would happen if agricultural growth would be focused on areas of the world where only a few animal species would be affected? The researchers evaluated how far global biodiversity loss could be minimized by such planning. They found that 88 percent of the biodiversity that is expected to be lost under future agricultural intensification could be avoided if global land use was spatially optimized.

“However, global optimization implies that species-rich countries, mainly in the tropics, would be more responsible for safeguarding the world’s natural resources – at the expense of their own production opportunities and economic development”... This applies mainly to countries that are highly dependent on agriculture. “Unless such conflicting national interests can be somehow accommodated in international sustainability policies, global cooperation seems unlikely and might generate new socioeconomic dependencies.”

Ten countries could already reduce the expected global biodiversity loss by one third if they followed the researchers’ suggestions on the national level. If every country followed, as much as 61 percent of the expected global biodiversity loss could be avoided. “A few tropical countries including India, Brazil, or Indonesia would have by far the greatest leverage for making global agricultural production more sustainable”... “Unfortunately, these countries are also often characterized by domestic land-use conflicts as well as by relatively weak land-governing institutions, both of which currently inhibits land-use optimization. Targeted efforts are needed to improve these countries’ capacities for integrated and sustainable land-use planning.”


https://www.alphagalileo.org/ViewItem.aspx?ItemId=184274&CultureCode=en


Underlying study: http://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.14076


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Elevated carotenoids in staple crops: The biosynthesis, challenges and measures for target delivery - JGEB (2018) 

Elevated carotenoids in staple crops: The biosynthesis, challenges and measures for target delivery - JGEB (2018)  | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Poverty eradication and global food security are among the targets of world leaders, most especially combating the scourge of hidden hunger. Provitamin A carotenoids cannot be synthesized de novo by human and so it must be taken as part of the diet. The deficiency of which is causing almost 6000 sights to be lost daily in most developing countries because of the monotonous starchy diets lacking substantial amount of carotenoid. 


Conventional breeding as well as genetic engineering have been used to increase the level of carotenoid in many staples including rice, potato, maize and cassava. While products from genetic engineering are still been subjected to strict regulatory measures preventing the delivery of the products to target consumers, some of the products from conventional breeding are already on the table of consumers. Interestingly, both technologies are crucial to tackling micronutrient deficiencies. 


This review discusses the role of carotenoid in human, the biosynthesis in plant and some of the staple crops that have been modified for increased carotenoid. Some measures expected of the leaders of the countries in need of these products for safe delivery to the target population after two decades is also highlighted.


https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jgeb.2018.02.010


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Africa 'set to miss UN development goal on malnutrition'

Africa 'set to miss UN development goal on malnutrition' | Food Policy | Scoop.it

Exceptionally detailed maps of child growth and education across Africa suggest that no single country is set to end childhood malnutrition by 2030. That target was set by the UN as a Sustainable Development Goal.

However, the new maps, which give detail to the level of an individual village, show that almost every nation has at least one region where children's health is improving.

The two studies have mapped child growth rates and educational attainment for women of reproductive age - tracking progress in both in 51 countries between 2000 and 2015. The scientists targeted these two factors in particular because they are important predictors of child mortality... "these are very useful indicators of where populations are doing well and where they're being left behind"... 


Most African countries, especially much of sub-Saharan Africa and eastern and southern regions, show improvement in malnutrition... [with] large disparities within individual countries... 


"The Africa shown in these maps tells a... story... of measurable, steady progress on issues long thought intractable. [But] there are villages where all children are too short for their age. Across most of the Sahel, a semi-arid swath of land from the Atlantic to the Red Sea, high rates of stunting persist, with no hint of improvement. Such fine-grained insight brings tremendous responsibility to act"... 

"We can look at those communities that are doing particularly well and ask if there are lessons we can learn and apply elsewhere"... In a study that is considered to have been the birth of modern epidemiology in the 19th Century, the London physician John Snow mapped cholera cases in London - revealing in a world-changing map how cases in the city were clustered around one water pump... This led to the revelation that the disease was spread through contaminated water... 


These maps could be as powerful in the long battle against hunger. "They are another tool in our arsenal... Alone, they won't eradicate malnutrition but they will enable Africa's leaders to act strategically." 


http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-43173614


Underlying article: http://doi.org/10.1038/nature25760

 

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