How to Scale and Sustain Access to More Nutritious Foods?

Everyone agrees that the world needs to make a fundamental shift towards building better, more nutritious and sustainable food systems.    Integrating nutrition in to the food value chain and reducing food waste is one important part of the equation, but making nutritious food more available and affordable to the most poor and vulnerable is also critical.

Despite nutrition and agriculture being inextricably linked, the two sectors have remained largely separate. Yet significant efforts and resources are now being made available to bridge the gap.   These include investments in research to develop more economically viable nutritious crop varieties,  support and incentives for farmers to grow more nutritious foods, and behaviour change communications programmes to create demand for nutritious foods.   

Yet experience is showing that agricultural production alone does not guarantee that nutritious foods reach the people that need them most. In response, a range of players are attempting to build markets that make nutritious foods more accessible, affordable and desirable to low income populations.    All these efforts are marked by a growing interest amongst the private, public and voluntary sectors to work together to find scaleable and sustainable solutions.     With much of this collaboration still at the pilot stage, there is a pressing need to draw on the evidence of what works and to progress towards more systematic and scaleable approaches.

Timed to coincide with World Food Day on 16th October, this online discussion aims to discuss how to scale up and sustain efforts to increase the supply of and demand for nutritious foods, especially amongst the world’s most vulnerable groups.

Key questions for the discussion include:

  1. Where are the greatest opportunities to integrate nutrition in to agriculture?
  2. How can we build, strengthen and scale up markets that provide nutritious foods to the people who need them most?
  3. Where are the innovations happening to support greater supply of and demand for nutritious foods, and what are we learning about what works?

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Thank you for the invitation and great insights.

Dear Ewan, I am happy to note that you have been following the GAIN Marketplace, please continue and you can find even more information on our newly-launched website by follwoing the links below:;;

Coming back to your question, the informal sector in most developing economies, especially in Sub Saharan Africa, are engines driving most initiatives and businesses, including the food business. This sector is wide and diverse. They have a lot of knowledge that we can tap into and for sure, they know how to this sector works.The challenge to all of us is to come up with innovative approaches that would bring them on-board, approaches that address the barriers that have kept them informal. if we do that, the sky will be the limit.

Thanks Enock. I look forward to getting more into the GAIN Marketplace and hearing about the emerging results.

On the informal sector, IDS has been doing some work here, in food but also in other sectors. We're learning important things about what does and doesn't work. Check out our recent policy briefing on the fortification programme in Tanzania, which has been trying to bring small maize millers and oil presses on board. We're interested to learn more from what's happening on the ground and contribute where we can!

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