Innovations in food systems: The key to human and planetary health
This blog by Shenggen Fan in GlobalDev argues that innovations in technologies, policies, and institutions will be critical in reshaping food systems for nutrition, health, inclusion and sustainability. Global cooperation is key to ensuring that innovations in food systems are widely disseminated and contribute positively to global development. Food systems have played a huge role in the progress of improving food security and nutrition, yet these systems are also at the heart of our global health and sustainability crises. However, food systems have the unique potential to fix these problems and help meet broader development goals. To do so, we need a new food system for which innovations are critical. First of all, technological innovations are key to achieving multiple wins and it will be critical to promote technologies with strong evidence of their benefits. The technologies should be scaled up, with careful consideration of their impact on smallholders, children’s nutrition and employment. Second, policy innovations are also critical as they can help to make priorities of both human health and environment. Examples of policy innovations are better targeting of agriculture and nutrition subsidies and innovations in financing. Third and last, institutional innovations can create an enabling environment for these policies and technologies to have broad, inclusive impact. Areas of institutional innovations are land reform, inclusive markes chains, institutional accountability and the promotion of science. So, conclusion is that food can fix many problems, but food systems must be fixed first with the help of innovations. To develop and implement these innovations to ensure no one is left behind, disciplines, countries, and sectors must work together. Global cooperation will be key to ensuring that innovations in food systems are widely disseminated and contribute positively to global development.