Galileo's Science Cafe
Feb 16, 2023, 6:00 - 9:00 PM
Verizon Auditorium, SciTech Campus or Virtual via Zoom
Title: Consolidated Research Project on the food systems transformation summit dialogues in Ghana, Rwanda and Malawi
Abstract: Sustainable food systems are at the center of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This is so because the current state of food and agricultural systems are facing challenges in delivering healthy foods and undermining human and planet health. The number of people who are food in-secure in many countries continue to increase despite global efforts and commitments to end hunger in all its forms by 2030. This is an indication that the world is not on track to achieve Zero Hunger by 2030. The Food Systems Summit in September 2021 called for national governments to develop their strategies for transforming food systems that would nurture the health of future generations and enable a sustainable planet. The aim of the Summit was to deliver progress on all 17 of the SDGs through a food systems approach that would end hunger, achieve food security, and improve nutrition by 2030.
The UN Summit took a “‘multi-stakeholder” approach by bringing knowledgeable people drawn from private and development partners, academia, civil society, representatives from agencies, representatives from government ministries, networks of thousands of scientists, representatives from farmers, youth and indigenous peoples. This platform offered participants to engage meaningfully and identify national strategies with concrete impacts on food systems. In support of the SDGs, AGRA was at the center of this UN Summit to support the validation of sustainable food systems with a pilot study in Rwanda, Ghana, and Malawi. The main objective of this research project was to review, analyze and synthesize the National Dialogue reports including the key insights from landscaping and diagnostic analysis of the three target countries’ food system.
The findings on the food affordability from the pilot study indicates that 70% of Malawians live under the poverty line which implies they cannot afford a healthy diet, and they consume infrequent meals, mainly from cheaper less nutritious cereals, resulting in high rates of undernourishment. Ghana is characterized by low diet quality and nutrition security, low production levels, affordability and demand for nutrient-dense foods among the population. In Rwanda, a healthy diet is unaffordable for 90% of people and requires price-lowering strategies to be in place.
To conclude, food systems play a very important role in many countries economy. Regrettably, most of the food systems are largely traditional/informal and have failed to provide health diets. In view of this, the reviewed strategic documents have revealed that the three target countries have national sectoral and cross-sectoral coordination mechanisms in place to integrate food systems transformation in support of the 2030 Agenda. Our research recommends some food systems transformation and policy interventions that could focus on restructuring to create an integrated food system with a clear delineation of initiatives, policies, etc.,
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