Global Food Policy Report 2020: Inclusive Food Systems Needed to Promote Development, Resilience
April 7, 2020, Washington, D.C. – The rapid spread of COVID-19 and efforts to control it raise growing concerns that food insecurity, malnutrition, and poverty can increase, especially among marginalized people in developing countries. To build a food system that is more resilient, climate smart, and healthier that helps people withstand shocks like this, policymakers must prioritize making it inclusive, according Global Food Policy Report 2020, released today by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
“The food system provides opportunities to improve food security and nutrition, generate income, and encourage inclusive economic growth, but even in prosperous times, too many people are excluded from full participation in it and get these benefits,” said Johan Swinnen, IFPRI director general. “In times of crisis like today, inclusion is an even greater necessity to protect the most vulnerable.”
Report highlight the central role played by inclusive food systems in meeting global goals to end poverty, hunger and malnutrition, and offer recommendations to make food systems more inclusive for four marginalized groups – small farmers, women, youth, and people who affected by conflict – also as an analysis of the transformation of the national food system.
More than 60% of people in low-income countries work in agriculture and small farmers comprise more than 70% of agricultural units in southern Africa, Sahara and 85% of agriculture in South Asia. The rapid expansion of the food market throughout Africa and Asia offers tremendous potential for many of these small farmers to benefit if they can increase agricultural production or engage in food distribution, processing, and other parts of the supply chain where employment opportunities pay with good will appear. .
At present, many small farmers lack the means and type of support to benefit from increased food demand. “Starting and maintaining an inclusive transformation process requires supporting smallholder market access by investing in basic infrastructure, creating market incentives, and promoting an inclusive agribusiness model. But it is equally important to invest in a ‘hidden supply chain’ where millions of small and medium-sized businesses already operate in food processing, storage, logistics, and distribution. Getting this right will be important to lift small farmers from poverty and food insecurity, “he said Rob Vosdirector of IFPRI’s Market, Trade and Institutions Division.
Women have made significant contributions throughout the food system, but these contributions are often not formally recognized, and women often face obstacles that prevent them from engaging in fair terms. Increasing women’s decision-making power and control over resources and assets such as credit, land, and training help empower them to contribute to the food system in a way that benefits both men and women. “Empowering women can spur various improvements that often reverberate throughout households and communities – from agricultural productivity, household food security and food quality, to nutrition of mothers and children,” said Hazel Malapit, senior research coordinator at IFPRI.
In southern Africa, the Sahara, young people are expected to play a growing role in the food system but their role in driving growth is often misunderstood. Projections show southern Africa’s Sahara will add 30 million people to the working age population each year by 2050, and most of this growth will occur in rural areas. “Africa’s rural areas will need to play a major role in providing employment opportunities for young people, but focusing on broad-based rural growth to create a thriving economic environment for the food system business is likely to do more to support this growing youth population than focused policies narrowly. about youth, “said James Thurlow, senior researcher at IFPRI.
Political instability and conflict have been a fundamental driver for the recent increase in global hunger, with more than half of all malnourished people living in conflict-affected countries. “Integrating people affected by the conflict into the food system – both where they came from or where they fled – can substantially help them rebuild their lives,” Vos said. Providing long-term refugees with access to land and facilities to build secure livelihoods can support their own food security while also contributing to the local economy. Rebuilding local agriculture and food value chains for people affected by the conflict will increase resilience thereby reducing the risk of further conflict and sowing the seeds for ultimate peace.
Throughout the developing world, national food systems have changed rapidly, creating challenges and opportunities to make them more inclusive of all these groups. Case studies of this transformation in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam provide useful examples of drivers and components of change, as well as promising entry points for actions that can increase inclusion. “The approach to food system transformation must be country specific, because each country’s food system is unique,” said John McDermott, director of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health.
The government can encourage this inclusive food system by enacting laws, policies and regulations that provide basic infrastructure, creating appropriate market incentives, promoting inclusive agribusiness models and exploiting the potential of digital technology. In addition, investment in human resources in areas such as securing land tenure rights, increased access to information, and stronger social protection can reduce barriers to participation faced by marginalized groups.
“The spread of COVID-19 has highlighted how vulnerable we all are to global shocks,” Swinnen said. “Greater inclusiveness in the food system is not a panacea for this crisis or other crises, but it is an important part of strengthening our resilience. Crisis times also offer opportunities for change and it is important for us to act now so that all people, especially the most vulnerable, can recover from the shock of COVID-19 and be prepared to face future shocks. “
The report also presents chapters analyzing developments in the food agriculture system in southern Africa, the Sahara, the Middle East and North Africa, Central Asia, South Asia, East and Southeast Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean.
For more information, download the report, Click here.
To talk to the author of the chapter about the content and theme of the report, please contact Smita Aggarwal: [email protected]
The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition in developing countries. IFPRI was established in 1975 to identify and analyze alternative national and international strategies and policies to meet the food needs of the developing world, with special emphasis on low-income countries and on the poorer groups in these countries. This is the research center of PT CGIAR, a world partnership engaged in agricultural research for development. Visit www.ifpri.org