AFRICA – The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) have agreed to join forces to increase the availability and affordability of nutritious food for all in developing countries.
The partnership aims at enabling inclusive and efficient agricultural and food systems, focusing on new approaches which engage small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to promote market-based solutions as a key tool for improved nutrition.
Speaking during the ceremony, Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of GAIN noted that healthier diets remain a key pillar in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and hence the need of food systems that deliver more affordable nutritious foods.
“FAO is a leader in this effort, and we are delighted to cement our partnership today. We will focus on practical ways we can jointly help businesses and city governments deliver nutritious diets,” Lawrence said.
The partnership also seeks to ensure that urban food systems are more nutrition-sensitive, through support to GAIN’s Urban Governance for Nutrition Program and FAO’s Urban Food Agenda.
Referencing the recent General Assembly resolution on “Global health and foreign policy: a healthier world through better nutrition,” FAO Director-General José Graziano da Silva called for greater promotion of healthy diets.
“We must focus more attention on the promotion of healthy diets, especially now with the epidemics of obesity and overweight. We know the main causes of hunger and how to defeat it,” he said.
However, he noted that more efforts should be placed towards monitoring and regulation in order to make food systems safer and more resilient highlighting the private sector as a key player in implementing the agenda.
At present, more than 50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas with the number projected to rise to 70% by 2050.
Subsequently, this creates an enormous challenge to food production and supply putting food and nutrition security of poor urban populations at risk as a result of climate change effects and increased food prices.
Therefore, building resilient food systems for the future by integrating rural and urban areas and strengthening their linkages – with the involvement of all stakeholders – comes at a benefit to both smallholder farmers and the urban poor.
The partnership between FAO and GAIN envisages support for policy at country level, and increased engagement of the private sector in improving food systems by supporting SMEs in bringing more nutritious foods to market.