On Monday, I attended the launch of the Global Hunger Index by Concern Worldwide. There was much to be hopeful about, particularly in India and sub-Saharan Africa where hunger and malnourishment has decreased significantly over the past 5 years. However, it quickly became apparent through the speakers’ comments and the audience’s questions that there is still much to be done – more detailed data needs to be gathered, more research needs to be funded, and much jargon needs to be busted in order to make nutrition part of the mainstream agenda.
What I found most telling, and perhaps most surprising, about the evening was the perceived lack of involvement and engagement in the challenges of nutrition by agriculture, to the extent that they are readily spoken of as two separate – and sometimes conflicting – sectors. While Lawrence Haddad of IFPRI spoke of the need for collaboration with the private sector in areas such as fortification of food ingredients and diversification, the references to agriculture were few and far between.
This World Food Day celebrates the role of family farmers in our food systems, and there is a great deal that the agricultural sector can do in supporting farmers in growing healthy, nutritious food both for their own families and catalysing change at the roots of our international supply chains. We can take a lot from the mission of Zambian project RAIN, whose name spells out the challenge we face – ‘Realigning Agriculture to Increase Nutrition’.
What are your thoughts? Join Gong and global agricultural research organisation CABI on 30th October for the first of our Agri-Comms monthly meet-ups, where communicators from NGOs, businesses, policy, media, research and academia will come together for an informal evening of food and agri chat. We’ll be at The Marylebone from 6:30pm – come along and spread the word!