IFAD Calls On Policymakers To Change Food Supply System

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The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has called on policy makers to change the global food systems to meet the challenge of modern nutrition.

A new IFAD report  recommends concrete actions for policymakers to make sure that there was even distribution and focus on pricing systems that reflect the full cost of production, including “rewarding farmers for ecosystem services, such as maintaining healthy soil and regulating pests.”

The report said, “We are living in a world of huge and unfair contradictions. There are 800 million hungry people and yet there are high obesity rates. Nutritious diets are expensive yet many small-scale farmers are poor. Current food growing practices are not good for our environment.

According to Dr. Jyotsna Puri, Associate Vice President of IFAD’s Strategy and Knowledge Department which leads the production of the Rural Development Report, “It is clear that we need a revolution. A revolution so dramatic those previous versions of food systems are unrecognizable.

Puri also said this week’s UN Food Systems Summit is a watershed moment to commit to real change, with the Rural Development Report offering governments recommendations for concrete actions that can be taken.

The report titled ‘Transforming Food Systems for Rural Prosperity’ stresses the importance of focusing investments and policy changes on rural food value chains so that all people can access adequate nutritious food in a manner that does not harm the environment, and so that food producers can earn decent incomes.”

Among the efforts to stabilize the system include “Investing in more rural farms and local small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that support activities after the farm gate, such as storing, processing, marketing and food distribution, a focus on local ownership and employment to increase job opportunities, particularly for women and young people.”

The report also called for affordable digital technologies to boost rural small-scale farmers’ production so that farmers can be climate-resilient, using low carbon and sustainable techniques.

“Promote accessible and affordable nutritious food. At least 3 billion people cannot currently afford healthy diets. Changing this requires focusing on nutrition education, empowering women to make nutrition decisions, and stronger government policies to regulate and steer market choices. Governments can use market-based instruments, income support and public procurement to focus on nutrition-rich foods.

“Engage to rebalance global trade and governance to correct power imbalances. The present concentration of power within food systems calls for rethinking regulations and trade arrangements so that rural people in developing countries can benefit.

“We know what needs to change to make the production, marketing and consumption of food fair and sustainable, which results in nutritious, affordable food for all. This report gives strong evidence and recommendations for specific actions. Now, we need the investments and political will to take action,” said Puri.

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