This World Malaria Day, organizations and individuals are called upon to support the global malaria community to ensure no one dies from a mosquito bite. As the world struggles to respond to COVID-19, there is a significant risk that prevention and treatment programs for malaria will be disrupted.
Older men and women are frequently unnoticed when collecting, analyzing and presenting statistical data. This non-inclusive approach to data collection and reporting biases disfavors the vulnerable aged populations. Yet, by the year 2050, 20% of the global population will be 60 and above. This presents both challenges and opportunities for implementation of the SDGs and calls for amendments and integration of policies and services to respond to the changing age structure and population. For all to benefit equally and “leave no one behind” as called by the United Nations, governments are encouraged to adopt age-friendly policies that realize older people’s rights, opinions and tackle ageism. It is essential for multilateral agencies to research, design and report guidelines for inclusive policy development and implementation.
The roots of obesity run deep.
People who suffer from obesity are constantly shamed and blamed for their disease. This is because many people - including doctors, policy makers and others - do not understand that obesity is a chronic disease. They see it as a simple lack of willpower, laziness, or a refusal to “eat less and move more”. But like all chronic diseases, the root causes of obesity run much deeper. They can be genetic, psychological, sociocultural, economic and environmental. It is time we break the cycle of shame and blame and reevaluate our approach for addressing this complex, chronic disease that affects 650 million people worldwide.
Digital agriculture is emerging as one of the most exciting new innovation spaces in the food and agriculture sector. From AI-supported decision-making, imagery services to precision agriculture machinery, robotics and mobile services, there is a high level of interest from consumers, investors and policy-makers in the potential of this new approach to help deliver a sustainable, efficient and secure food supply.
November 14 is World Diabetes Day. For the third consecutive year, Avena Canadiense is partnering with the Mexican Diabetes Federation, A.C. to raise awareness about the importance of early diagnosis of Type 2 Diabetes and the role of diet in diabetes management.
The International Diabetes Federation and the World Health Organization began World Diabetes Day in 1991 in response to the growing health threat posed by diabetes.
Diabetes is a very serious public health problem in Mexico where more than 12 million people live with diabetes and half of them ignore their condition. Diabetes is among the leading causes of death and disease in the country. Having a balanced diet and physical activity are key measures to prevent and reduce diabetes.
If you know an outstanding individual working to make hunger history – why not nominate them for the biggest accolade in agriculture?
In the context of the 2018 United Nations High Level Political Forum (HLPF), the Permanent Missions of Canada and Jamaica to the United Nations and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) hosted a side event, Investing for Reshaping Food Systems, to bring attention to the importance of investing in reshaping food systems to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and achieve broad-based development. The side event convened on 11 July 2018 in Conference Room 9 and advocated key policies and investments to reshape food systems that can help us achieve multiple SDGs by 2030 – food systems that are efficient, inclusive, climate-smart, sustainable, nutrition- and health-driven, and business-friendly.
Learn more about IFPRI:
Three exceptional women in agribusiness have been chosen to receive the 2018 WIA Demeter Award of Excellence. The award recognizes those who have achieved excellence in their field or demonstrated an extraordinary contribution to the agribusiness industry.
The UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) selected nutrition as one of its key workstreams for 2016–2018 and will have a major role in shaping nutrition debates in the context of the SDGs and the 2nd International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2) outcomes.
The PSM Working Group on Nutrition brings together key stakeholders from across the agri-food value chain, including farm representatives, businesses, and nutritionists. The Working Group follows closely the CFS work stream on nutrition and participates in the Open-Ended Working Group and the Technical Task Team on Nutrition.
Multi-stakeholder engagement plays a critical role in kick-starting new nutrition programs to address the challenges brought by all facets of malnutrition. Private Sector Mechanism members have been raising the importance of issues such as food safety, nutritional education and targeted interventions to address stunting and wasting. Nutritional interventions must be prioritised, particularly geared to addressing the needs of women, children, and the most vulnerable. This requires progressive programming and a willingness to work together. Innovation, research, education, and trade are essential to improving access to quality foods. All of which is underpinned by the essential role of farmers to produce the food we eat.
CFS44 will take place October 9-13 in Rome, Italy and provides a platform to discuss nutrition as a key work stream to be implemented across the whole agricultural and food value chain: from production of foods to improving storage and infrastructure, processing nutrient-dense food products and to clearly labeling nutrition facts. Improvements to the policy environment, market connectivity, land use, women’s economic empowerment, and adequate rural infrastructure also impact nutrition and health.
We encourage all private sector actors working on nutrition to join our delegation.
You can learn more about CFS44 and register here.
Stunting continues to be one of the most pernicious and widespread forms of malnutrition, having a disproportionate impact on the most vulnerable populations compared with other types of malnourishment. According to 2016 data, 155 million children under five around the world are stunted, representing more than 20 per cent of the under-five population. The majority of stunted children are in Asia (87 million) and in Africa (59 million).
Resulting from insufficient food and nutrients, stunting has significant consequences for human health as well as social and economic development. The effects last a lifetime, ranging from impaired brain development, lower IQ, weakened immune systems, and greater risk of serious diseases like diabetes and cancer later in life. Beyond the devastating personal impacts, stunting is also an enormous drain on economic productivity and growth. Economists estimate that it can reduce a country’s GDP by as much as 12 per cent.
Although stunting is almost always irreversible, it can be prevented by improving nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. The SDGs identified childhood malnutrition, in particular stunting and wasting, as key targets. In addition, the World Health Assembly established a target to reduce by 40 per cent the number of children under-five who are stunted by 2025.
Yet according to estimates recently released by WHO, UNICEF and the World Bank, malnutrition rates around the world remain alarming, and stunting is declining too slowly while the number of overweight children continues to rise. Africa and Asia bear the greatest share of all forms of malnutrition.
This is why stunting, as a key limiting factor in growth and human development, should continue to be a top priority for global initiatives aimed at decreasing the prevalence of malnutrition.
In 2016, the Private Sector Mechanism (PSM) to the UN Committee on World Food Security (CFS) organized a Partnership Forum on Nutrition. During the Forum, we heard of three projects on the frontline of the battle against stunting.
Sustainability in School Nutrition Programmes
According to the World Food Programme (WFP)’s State of School Feeding study, 368 million children in 169 countries benefit from school feeding programs worldwide. The return on investment is substantial – for every $1 spent by governments and donors, WFP estimates at least $3 is gained in economic returns. However, in low-income countries, the proportion of primary school children beneficiaries is just 18 per cent, while in lower-middle-income countries that figure is 49 per cent.
The Tetra Laval Group has a long experience in engaging in public-private partnerships to develop school milk programs linked to local agricultural development. In 2015, more than 70 million children benefitted from locally sourced, fortified milk at school, providing positive health outcomes for children involved.
Swapping Cereals for Pulses: Improving Dietary Diversity in Ethiopia
Pulse crops, in combination with cereals, hold great promise in terms of meeting nutritional requirements for protein, energy, and some important micronutrients such as iron and zinc. As the second most important crop type in terms of annual production, they are important components of the Ethiopian diet.
However, there is a lack of evidence documenting the nutritional benefits of production and consumption of pulses. Responding to this gap, the University of Saskatchewan has identified barriers to, and implemented education programs on, production and consumption of pulses as a means of not only helping diversify the diet, but also to generate household income that could be used to purchase other nutritious foods. So far, the findings have been encouraging in terms of improving nutrition literacy, linking pulse agriculture to improving dietary diversity, and reinvesting income from pulses to meet household needs and to adopt new agricultural practices.
Putting dietary diversity on the plate in Zambia
Bioversity International has been engaged in a three-year “whole diet – whole year” initiative in the Barotse floodplain, Zambia, supported by the CGIAR Research Program Aquatic Agricultural Systems (AAS), and Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.
Rather than focusing on a single nutrition problem, such as vitamin A deficiency, it considers that an individual or household can have many nutritional problems at the same time – for example, lacking more than one essential micronutrient, over-consumption of high-energy staples, or a combination of both. And these problems can vary at different times of the year, or at different times in a person’s life, such as during pregnancy.
Bioversity are using these findings to develop a combination of agriculture and nutrition interventions. These include:
- identifying crop diversification entry points for increased production of nutrient-dense crops including fruits, vegetables, groundnuts and legumes,
- establishing 30 demonstration plots in the 10 communities,
- producing educational materials on how to make the most of locally available foods to diversify the diet every month of the year, and how to prepare recipes using seasonally available foods.
Key messages were shared via cooking demonstrations on enhanced recipes with local cooking groups, where community members gained new knowledge on how to prepare nutritious porridge, for example by adding dried pounded vegetables to maize meal and adding cow pea and groundnut to enrich local dishes.
For more success stories on SDG2.2: ending malnutrition, visit www.farmingfirst.org/SDGs or search #Ag4SDGs on Twitter.
Featured image: Rachel Nduku, The Commonwealth