Changing food systems: implications for DFID priorities
This policy brief (PDF) by the Institute of Development Studies examines changes in food systems, including urbanisation, changing diets and free trade, the risks and opportunities of these changes and its implications for policy priorities. The changes in food systems create both systemic risks and transformational opportunities that demand a deeper understanding of food systems and how to ensure their long-term resilience, inclusiveness, and sustainability. Inclusive economic development in low and middle income countries is highly interconnected with the food economy. The brief comes with a number of key messages: 1) Most development challenges are interrelated with how food systems function at local, national, and global levels. 2) Food systems matter because the majority of people in developing countries are employed in the food and agriculture sectors, human health is profoundly influenced by what people eat, and the production and distribution of food is an important contributor to climate change. 3) Key indicators for food system outcomes are heading in the wrong direction, creating systemic risks that threaten development progress, peace, and security. 4) Historically, development programmes have compartmentalised interventions on nutrition, health, agriculture, environment, and climate, and not adequately considered the trade-offs and synergies across food systems. 5) Transforming food systems is key to tackling economic, social, and environmental issues, while creating economic opportunities for investment and job creation. 6) Country-level food system analysis on risks and opportunities is needed to underpin integrated and coordinated development interventions. These trends and changes result in opportunities and implications for policy development, including investing in enterprises that create employment and economic activity by providig added value to farm produce, in rural infrastructure and services, and in industrial clusters that improve efficiency in food value chains and knowledge transfers between actors. Thereby, access should be provided to education and training in agrifood sector, labour policies should be improved, as well as occupational and health safety standards across value chains.