GFAR blog, Partnerships for impact, Research in society

Looking beyond hunger: thoughts on SOFI 2019

This week, State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2019 charted just how off track we are to end hunger and meet global nutrition targets by 2030. With more than a quarter of the world population without regular access to nutritious food and insufficient progress on all forms of malnutrition, FAO DG José Graziano da Silva calls for “bold multisectoral action” and a redoubling of efforts to achieve SDG 2.

SOFI 2019 full

So, what does this look like? The SDG2 Hub asked leading thinkers Gerda Verburg of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movementand Elwyn Grainger-Jones of CGIAR for their reflections on the work to be done in the looming decade to 2030.

How do we drive a breakthrough on SDG2? 

The need for a broader vision of SDG2 that captures this multifaceted goal in greater colour and complexity. 

“SDG2 has a vision of zero hunger – and it’s a broader vision than just bringing more people above the minimum calorie line,” explains Elwyn. “SDG2 is also focused on improving micronutrient nutrition; getting agriculture back within environmental limits; doubling smallholders’ productivity and incomes; and maintaining ex-situ genetic diversity of crops, livestock, fish and their wild relatives. Each of these areas need a different breakthrough to secure success by 2030.”

“We must take a food systems approach to achieve SDG2,” reasons Gerda. “When we put nutrition at the centre of our food systems, rather than economic outputs, we are compelled to ensure first and foremost that people have access to a healthy diet. We need to shift our focus away from calories and quantity of food to focus more on quality, nutritious foods- and we need to reward farmers who put nutrition at the centre of their work.”


Role of farmers

Improving access to resources is a priority to double incomes of smallholder farmers and help this important food actor and agriculture more generally to deliver on nutrition. 

“A critical breakthrough here is a step change in the availability of diverse, climate-resilient crops varieties for farmers with the help of public-sector research and distribution working hand-in-hand with private sector,” highlights Elwyn. “Other breakthroughs to conquer this challenge include harnessing inexpensive information technologies to get real-time data and advice into the hands of farmers, and resource tenure reforms to allow local people to reap the benefits of natural capital solutions to climate change. Together higher incomes and a more diverse food supply can provide a major boost to the SDG target of universal micronutrient sufficiency.”

Ensuring women have access to a range of services so they can actively contribute to a vibrant agricultural system which delivers nutritious food is just as important to ensure success. Gerda explains, “In many parts of the world, women struggle to access financial services, extension services, fertilizer and land. Improving access for women is a crucial component of the solution.”

Continue reading the full story on the website of the SDG2 Advocacy Hub HERE

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