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Integrating food safety and nutrition in agri-food systems

Near East and North Africa regional network on nutrition-sensitive agri-food systems - Technical Brief

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    The Role of Forests, Trees and Wild Biodiversity for Nutrition-Sensitive Food Systems and Landscapes 2013
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    Many contend that in order to overcome the world’s nutrition problems, nutrition must become a crosscutting issue, with concrete commitment and attention from a wide range of disciplines. From this assertion has grown the promotion of nutrition-sensitive approaches to economic growth, development, agriculture and food systems (nutrition-specific interventions target malnutrition directly, whereas nutrition-sensitive interventions target the causes of malnutrition by integrating nutrition into po licies and programs in diverse sectors). There have been repeated calls for the international community to prioritize identification ways to leverage agriculture (and agricultural landscapes) to enhance nutrition (and health). Land use change is an often overlooked driver of change in diets, nutrition and food security, especially for rural communities. The synergies between food systems approaches to food security and nutrition and landscape approaches to integrated biodiversity and forest cons ervation should be explored and built on. Forests and trees support food security and nutrition in a number of ways. Forests and wild biodiversity provide nutritionally important foods (including fruits, vegetables, bush meat, fish and insects), that contribute to the diversity and nutritional quality of diets of people living in heterogeneous landscapes. Forests and trees provide fuelwood, an essential and often overlooked component of the food systems in rural areas across the globe. Forests a nd tree products make invaluable contributions to the income of people living in and around them, often providing the only means of accessing the cash economy, thus enabling access to nutritious foods through purchasing. Forests also sustain resilience: forest products are often consumed more frequently in times of food scarcity and can provide livelihood safety nets. When they reach markets, forest and tree products can contribute to the nutrition-sensitivity of global food systems (approximate ly 53% of the fruit available for consumption globally is produced by trees), especially when market chains are supported and developed in a nutrition-sensitive manner. Biodiversity, forests and trees outside forests also provide an array of ecosystem services essential for the sustainability and nutriton-senstivity of agricultural systems (e.g. pollination, water provisioning, genetic resources). A better understanding of the importance of these relationships, and the spatial scales at which th ey function, is needed to ensure they are not overlooked in policy and practice.
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    Brochure, flyer, fact-sheet
    Making extension and advisory services nutrition-sensitive
    The link between agriculture and human nutrition
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    Human nutrition is vital for agriculture. Many smallholder farmers are food-insecure and suffer chronic or acute forms of malnutrition. This can permanently harm the physical and cognitive growth of children, while reducing productivity as household members are less able to carry out agricultural work. Agriculture is vital for human nutrition. Nutrition has long been considered mostly a health issue. However, agriculture plays an essential role in ensuring nutritional wellbeing not only for rural populations, but also for society as a whole. Beyond producing food in sufficient quantity, agri-food systems should also:
    • provide diversified, safe and nutritious foods;
    • improve rural incomes and resilience, and thus enhance access to healthy diets;
    • make foods that contribute to healthy diets available and accessible at national and sub-national levels.
    To this end, we must build the capacities of farmers, agriculture extensionists, consumers and others, encourage innovation, investments and enabling policies, and address gender issues. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) uses a food-based approach to agricultural development to make the global food system produce better nutritional outcomes.
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    Book (series)
    Europe and Central Asia – Regional Overview of Food Security and Nutrition 2022
    Repurposing policies and incentives to make healthy diets more affordable and agrifood systems more environmentally sustainable
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    This report presents the latest updates related to food security and nutrition in Europe and Central Asia, including estimates on the cost and affordability of healthy diets. It also explores how governments are supporting the food and agriculture sector and how to repurpose policies and incentives to make healthy diets more affordable and agrifood systems more environmentally sustainable. The new estimates confirm that the prevalence of hunger at chronic or severe levels is relatively low in the ECA region, through the prevalence of food insecurity at moderate or severe levels can be quite high. The region is seeing alarmingly high – and rising – rates of overweight and obesity. The COVID-19 pandemic has added 25.5 million people in the region to the ranks of the moderately or severely food insecure, leaving them without access to safe, nutritious and adequate food. The war in Ukraine has made the situation worse. Almost all ECA subregions are experiencing increased costs and reduced affordability of healthy diets because of higher food prices and lower incomes. This report contains an in-depth analysis of the repurposing of food and agricultural policies to ensure the food systems transformation is better suited to addressing the “triple challenge” of achieving food security and good nutrition for better health, providing livelihoods to farmers and others connected to the sector, and reducing the nature and climate footprint of the sector. This report also reviews complementing policies within and outside of agrifood systems to assess whether repurposing efforts are impactful in the ECA region.

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