Making our food systems more nutritious, resilient, and inclusive

Photo credit: IFPRI

Jenna Ferguson, IFPRI

Panelists discuss topic of “Enhancing Nutrition in Food Systems.”


Improving food systems for better lives


Although we have successfully reached the Millennium Development Goal of halving extreme poverty and hunger at the global level, an estimated 795 million people continue to suffer from hunger while two billion suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Making our food systems more nutritious, resilient, and inclusive can significantly improve the lives of millions of people living in poverty around the world.

A group of stakeholders and experts on food systems recently gathered to discuss this need at an event in Brussels at an event co-hosted by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the European Commission (EC), and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). About 80 participants from civil society organizations, the public and private sectors, academia, and the donor community, among others, debated how to translate research into action on three critical themes: Enhancing Nutrition in Food Systems, Building More Resilient and Sustainable Food Systems, and Prioritizing Gender for More Inclusive Food Systems.

Read the full article: IFPRI

Policymakers and other value chain stakeholders

Photo credit: ILRI

Women pounding grain for the evening meal in Khulungira Village, in central Malawi (photo credit: ILRI/Stevie Mann)

Hard numbers and soft stories: Reaching policymakers and empowering women in Africa’s agrifood value chains


By Jo Cadilhon

The fifteen research centres collaborating in the global CGIAR partnership have all embraced gender as a cross-cutting theme for research. Understanding the differentiated social roles of men and women, and the challenges men and women face in accessing resources is key in reducing rural poverty, improving food security, nutrition and health, and sustainably managing natural resources. However, to achieve more gender-equitable goals, our development partners also need to be aware of how undertaking gender-sensitive actions could lead to a more equitable society.

Policymakers are key partners in this process as they can orient government programs and donor projects towards more gender-equitable objectives. Yet, how can we make sure that policymakers become interested gender-equity and recognize its importance?

Established in 2006 under the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS) supports efforts to promote evidence and outcome-based policy planning and implementation as part of the CAADP agenda.

In East and Central Africa, the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) are implementing ReSAKSS activities. These include regular training workshops targeted on statisticians and economists in the statistics departments of African governments in order to help them better collect and analyse official statistical data and make robust interpretations from them to informing policymakers and other value chain stakeholders.

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Challenges for ending global hunger


Hungry for answers

by Peter Shelton

Experts outline challenges for ending global hunger during recent policy seminar

Source: David Popham/IFPRI Pictured (lef-right): Rick Leach, Shenggen Fan, and Elizabeth Buckingham -
Source: David Popham/IFPRI Pictured (lef-right): Rick Leach, Shenggen Fan, and Elizabeth Buckingham –

Ending global hunger and malnutrition is a monumental task. Yet it’s not an impossible one to realize, even in the next 10 to 20 years, provided that the international community builds on previous successes and follows through on forward-looking global commitments to achieve sustainable development.

Two flagship reports highlighted at a recent policy seminar at IFPRI offer strategies to reach this goal: the 2014 Global Hunger Index (GHI), co-published by IFPRI, and The Roadmap to End Global Hunger 2015 Policy Brief, launched by a coalition of 33 humanitarian organizations and advocacy groups.

The authors of the 2014 Global Hunger Index estimate that 805 million people worldwide suffer from hunger while an even larger number—2 billion—suffer from micronutrient malnutrition. Yet these numbers would be greater still if not for ongoing efforts aimed at reducing hunger and malnutrition, by USAID’s Feed the Future program, 1,000 Days, and theScaling Up Nutrition (SUN) initiative, to name a few.

Read the full article: IFPRI

Hunger and malnutrition are not problems exclusive to low income countries


The persistent hunger problem in middle income countries

Highlights from the 2014-2015 Global Food Policy Report

Reliable water and nutrition security

Photo credit: Google

Irrigation in Senegal

How can reliable water access contribute to nutrition security in Africa south of the Sahara?

IFPRI research on water for sustainable development

New technologies for Africa

Photo credit: Google

This is the first time we have laid out a very clear action plan on what needs to accelerate the pace of the Green Revolution in terms of technologies

Africa: To Bring Green Revolution to Africa, Countries Must Develop New Technologies


The blind adoption of solutions from other continents won’t work for Africa

African countries cannot blindly adopt food policy initiatives that spurred the Green Revolution in Asia as a way to promote agricultural development, according to new award-winning findings by researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute.

Professor Carol B.Thompson, Political Economy, Northern Arizona University, USA The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations propose to increase food production on the African continent, “eliminating hunger for 30-40 million people and sustainably moving -
Professor Carol B.Thompson, Political Economy, Northern Arizona University, USA The Gates and Rockefeller Foundations propose to increase food production on the African continent, “eliminating hunger for 30-40 million people and sustainably moving –

The research, which focused on Ghana and was originally published in the journal Food Policy, suggests that Africa must instead develop new technologies to improve the output of tree and root crops that are abundant in the region and to reduce the need for manual labor.

During the Green Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, Asian and Latin American countries experienced a dramatic increase in the production of wheat and other staples by using new varieties and relying more heavily on fertilizer and irrigation. African countries have sought to mimic their success, but the adoption of similar policies failed to increase agricultural output.

“Assuming Africa is an appropriate setting for another Asian-style Green Revolution is misleading and could result in, yet again, a frustrated attempt to attain sustainable agricultural growth,” said IFPRI Senior Research Fellow Alejandro Nin-Pratt, lead author of the study.

Read the full article: allAfrica


A stable food system needed for ending hunger

 Photo credit: Google

Why is Ending Hunger So Hard?

A seminar at IFPRI in Washington: February 23, 2015

International Food Policy Research Institute
2033 K Street, NW, Washington, DC
Fourth Floor Conference Facility


RSVP to Simone Hill-Lee –, 202-862-8107

Ending hunger is difficult because it is a lengthy process that requires sustained policy attention and public resources at the same time that private markets are the arena for nearly all the decisions that matter.

Central to this process is the food system, both as a key element of structural transformation and where many of the poor make their living. Without a stable food system that minimizes volatility, countries cannot sustain rapid economic growth, as citizens and investors need to feel confident that food will be reliably available and affordable in rural and urban markets.

Read also: IFPRI

Reducing hunger and poverty: specific constraints to reform

Photo credit: Google

Integrating political economy analysis into Food Security research

Source: Flickr (M. Mitchell/IFPRI)
From left: Colin Poulton, Laura Pavlovic, Verena Fritz, and Danielle Resnick


Why are seemingly optimal investments and policies for reducing hunger and poverty so difficult to achieve in practice? Although scarce empirical research or insufficient technical capacity may be partially responsible, a lack of political incentives by those with the power to make decisions is often a key reason why it is so difficult to bridge the gap from research to policy reform. At a recent IFPRI policy seminar, speakers representing the research and donor communities discussed the importance of looking at ways to reduce hunger and poverty through this political economy lens.

The donor community has taken a leading role in this type of analysis. In the 1990s, donors began giving greater weight to the importance of “good governance” and gradually recognized that governance was not just an important outcome on its own but played a leading role in the overarching policy process.

By the early 2000s, a few donors began launching political economy analysis, including the UK Department for International Development’s “Drivers of Change” work, the Swedish International Development Agency’s “Power Analysis,” the Netherlands’ “Strategic Governance and Corruption Analysis,” and the US Agency for International Development’s “Democracy and Governance Assessments.” These early approaches were aimed at mainstreaming political thinking within donor agencies and providing contextualized analysis of the countries in which they were working.

More recently donors have moved towards a more practical approach, focusing on specific constraints to reform at the sector and project levels. The World Bank’s problem-driven analysis, which emerged during the past decade, is typical of this approach.

Read the full article: IFPRI

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