THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

THE STATE OF FOOD AND AGRICULTURE

As the world debates the Post-2015 Development Agenda, we must strive for nothing less than the eradication of hunger, food insecurity and malnutrition. The social and economic costs of malnutrition are unconscionably high, amounting to perhaps $US3.5 trillion per year or $US500 per person globally. Maternal and child malnutrition still impose a larger burden than overweight and obesity, although the latter is increasing even in developing regions. The challenge for the global community, therefore, is to continue fighting hunger and undernutrition while preventing or reversing the emergence of obesity.

This edition of The State of Food and Agriculture: Food systems for better nutrition makes the case that good nutrition begins with food and agriculture.

Food systems around the world are diverse and changing rapidly. Food systems have become more industrial, commercial and global, unleashing processes of productivity growth, economic development and social transformation being felt around the world. These processes have profound implications for diets and nutritional outcomes.

Commercialization and specialization in agricultural production, processing and retailing have enhanced efficiency throughout the food system and increased the year-round availability and affordability of a diverse range of foods for most consumers in the world. At the same time, concerns are mounting about the sustainability of current consumption and production patterns, and their implications for nutritional outcomes.