One of the major knowledge and policy challenges for supporting the sustainable development goals in the domains of reducing hunger and improving environment refers to the integration of perspectives on healthy consumption, inclusive value chains and sustainable food production.
At the seminar ‘Food Systems … in an Urbanizing World’ Wageningen Economic Research assesses new insights on the dynamics of food systems, focussing on the specific context of rapidly growing megacities in the developing world.
Researchers, policy makers, food business and civil society organizations involved in strategic debates and practical innovations are brought together to meet the key challenges for meeting healthy diets and sustainable food supply… in an urbanizing world. Looking back and forward how to combine evidence and research findings of the WUR-LNV (Ministry of Agriculture, Natura and Food Quality) Knowledge Base (KB) Programs ‘Global Food & Nutrition Security’ and ‘Metropolitan Solutions’ towards a future knowledge and valorization agenda. The seminar focuses on:
- Summarizing findings of the two WUR-LNV KB Programs
- Discussing methods, tools and challenges for interdisciplinary food system analysis
- Illustrating policy implications and practice of integrated food system approaches
- Connecting results and aspirations towards a future program on food security of mega-cities
Background food systems… in an urbanizing world
Food systems analysis builds on understanding the structure and dynamics of agro-food production systems, the drivers for integrated food value chains and markets, and key incentives for supporting healthier consumer choices. Together, this provides dynamic insights on interfaces between food system activities and processes of adaptive change that are critical to overcome key constraints and bridging trade-offs between sustainable food production and healthy diets.
Potential linkages between agricultural commercialization and intensification influence food security and nutritional outcomes. Integrated value chains contribute to resilient exchange networks and efficient food markets that support circularity and responsiveness. Citizen preferences need to be understood in order to be able to identify suitable incentives to enhance healthier dietary choices.
Opportunities for local food systems
Trends of growing urbanization and gradually rising incomes lead to rapid changes in consumption patterns. Whereas staple crops still represent a major share in traditional diets, peri-urban consumers ask for fresh vegetables and fruits, dairy products, poultry and eggs, fish, and pork and meat. These items are usually more expensive and a long-distance supply chain suffers high food losses.
There are major opportunities for upgrading local food systems while urban food system resilience can benefit from spatially integrated markets and nutrition-sensitive value chains. The integrated value chains contribute to resilient exchange networks and efficient food markets that support circularity and responsiveness. Citizen preferences need to be understood in order to be able to identify suitable incentives to enhance healthier dietary choices.