In the five decades during which CGIAR has worked to reduce poverty and
hunger through agricultural research, very substantial changes have
occurred in human diets worldwide and in the production systems that
sustain them. National diets around the world have become increasingly
similar, gaining in calories, protein, and fat, as animal-derived foods
and high-calorie plant foods (oils and sugars) have risen in importance.
The proportion of diets consisting of major cereals and oil crops has
increased, while regionally and locally important cereals, root crops,
and oil crops have generally become further marginalized. Developing
countries show the most significant shifts in diets over this period.
These changes have been driven by globalization, urbanization, and
economic development, including agricultural research. While this
“nutrition transition” has enhanced food security by making
macronutrients more readily available worldwide, it has had mixed
effects on micronutrient sufficiency, and the over-consumption of
macronutrients has contributed to a global surge in diet-related
non-communicable diseases. Dietary change is also linked with greater
homogeneity in farmers’ fields and the associated commodity trading
systems, thus heightening concerns about genetic vulnerability to biotic
and abiotic stresses as well as food system vulnerability to climatic
and political instability. This policy brief provides an overview of the
key results from a recent study published by the International Center
for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and CGIAR Research Program on Climate
Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) (Khoury et al., 2014),
which has important implications for CGIAR research priorities.
Khoury, C.K.; Jarvis, A. The Changing Composition of the Global Diet: Implications for CGIAR Research. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), Copenhagen, Denmark (2014) 6 + (Supplementary information) 20 pp.