How can agriculture and food system policies improve nutrition? Technical Brief, November 2014

Abstract

This is the first in a series of technical briefs prepared by the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition to disseminate information useful to inform policy, programme and investment to benefit nutrition, particularly among vulnerable mothers and children. It shows the breadth of policies relating to agriculture and food systems that influence nutritional outcomes for people and the opportunities to make these more nutrition - enhancing.

The traditional view that improving agricultural productivity will improve nutritional security is no longer tenable. Nor can nutrition-specific interventions or social protection programmes provide long term and sustainable nutrition for those most in need. More food is needed, and these specific interventions can help, but much more needs to be done to ensure that countries have agriculture and food systems that support a food environment that delivers healthy, diverse diets and supports nutrition outcomes.

The food environment from which consumers should be able to create healthy diets is influenced by four domains of economic activity:

  • agricultural production
  • markets and trade systems
  • consumer purchasing power
  • food transformation and consumer demand

In each of these domains, there are a range of policies that can have enormous influence on the nutritional outcomes. In this technical brief, we explain how these policies can influence nutrition, positively and negatively. We make an argument for an integrated approach, drawing on policies from across these domains, and the need for more empirical evidence to identify successful approaches.

Citation

Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. How can agriculture and food system policies improve nutrition? Technical Brief, November 2014. Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, London, UK (2014) 19 pp.

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