Tapping the economic and nutritional power of vegetables
This review article (PDF) in the journal Global Food Security explores the potential for vegetables to provide new opportunities for economic growth for smallholder farmers in low-income countries and to advance food and nutrition security for consumers. Intensified vegetable production has the potential to generate more income and employment than other segments of the agricultural economy. Additionally, a strengthened focus on vegetables may be the most direct and most affordable way to deliver better nutrition for all. Today, however, neither the economic nor the nutritional power of vegetables is sufficiently realized. The longstanding focus on staple food crops must be adjusted to take in a broader view. Governments and donors need to raise the priority given to increasing the productivity of vegetable production systems, reducing postharvest losses, and increasing affordability and market access. With a growing understanding of the linkages between dietary quality and health, policymakers must also be prepared to support additional interventions to promote vegetable consumption. Vegetable consumption must therefore be nurtured through a combination of supply-side interventions and behavioral change communication emphasizing the importance of eating vegetables for good nutrition and health. To fully tap the economic and nutritional power of vegetables, governments and donors will need to give vegetables much greater priority than they currently receive.