How can health, agriculture and economic policy actors work together to enhance the external food environment for fruit and vegetables? A qualitative policy analysis in India
This study (PDF) in the Food Policy journal aims to identify opportunities to strengthen food system policy for nutrition, through an analysis of the policies relevant to the external food environment for fruit and vegetables in India. The existing policy context is characterised by growing government support for agriculture over the past decade, with a focus on employment, livelihoods and economic growth. However, there is little integration of nutrition and health considerations in agricultural practice and policy. This study identified three practical strategies for fruit and vegetable supply policy actors in India, which are likely to help address the interdisciplinary disconnect between nutrition on the one hand, and economics and agriculture on the other. The first is strategic Public-Private Partnerships that could be used to harness diverse expertise across the supply chain. Many of the challenges facing the supply chain in India will require collaboration between public and private sector actors. Second, creation of synergies between the agriculture/economic sectors and the health sectors in promoting increased fruit and vegetable supply – including both production and processing methods that maximize nutrition outcomes. Public health interventions and promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption can support demand in ways that align with seasonality and locality of production, and target specific populations. Better understanding of supply chain agendas among public health policy actors will also enable the strategic design of interventions to increase consumer access to – and demand for – fruit and vegetables. Third, strengthening surveillance of policy impacts on consumer access to fruit and vegetables. Public health actors can play a critical role in sharing – and scaling up – small-scale, local- and state-level innovation in fruit and vegetable supply chains.