Skip to main content

The challenge

How can we ensure that 9 billion people will have access to a nutritious and healthy diet that is produced in a sustainable manner by 2050? 

This is the global challenge ahead of us.

Population growth and increasing urbanization are coinciding with an increase of health problems related to poor nutrition around the world:

  • An estimated one in three people on the plant are affected by malnutrition. Of these, 155 million children are stunted.
  • Two billion people are deficient in the essential vitamins and minerals critical for growth and development such as vitamin A, iron and zinc.
  • Nearly 2 billion people are overweight or obese.

"88% of countries face a serious burden of either two or three burdens of malnutrition" - Global Nutrition Report 2017

Diversifying diets that include high quality, safe and nutritious foods can reduce micronutrient deficiencies by providing a rich source of nutrients all year round. Yet national food systems are supplying less diverse food. This is reflected in diets that are monotonous and based on a few staple crops, especially in low-income countries where access to nutrient-rich sources of food, such as animal source foods, fruits and vegetables is a challenge.

From 391,000 known plant species, 5,538 are known to be used for human food. Just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide more than 50% of the world's plant-derived calories.

Download the factsheet

Our solutions

This Bioversity International Initiative studies how agricultural and tree biodiversity can be better used within food production systems through:

Rural to urban agri-food chains

We investigate how agri-food value chains serve as a vehicle to connect producers who are often in rural areas, with consumers in peri-urban and urban areas.

Local agri-food systems

We analyze how a whole-diet approach can contribute to improved nutrition and health among low-income urban and rural consumers.

Related news


Recipes to the rescue

Bioversity International partners with chefs, nutritionist, local communities and researchers to leverage the low-cost, highly nutritious and...

Read more

Our health linked to our food linked to our biodiversity

Dorothy Shaver, Global Sustainability Lead for Knorr, Unilever, marks the International Day for Biological Diversity with a guest blog on why eating...

Read more

Our Biodiversity, Our Food, Our Health

On the International Day for Biological Diversity, Juan Lucas Restrepo, Director General of Bioversity International, reflects on the importance of...

Read more

IPBES recognizes why agrobiodiversity matters

The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) report, approved by more than 130 countries, recognizes...

Read more

Healthy Foods You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet): The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Database

A new database compiles nutrition information on over 185 neglected and underutilized food species and varieties, researched by partners of the...

Read more

Latest publications

This report presents the main results of the consultative start-up workshop for the ‘Resilient seed systems in East Africa’ initiative which aims to...

Authors:
Recha, T.; Vernooy, R.; Halewood, M.; Otieno, G.
Publication Year:
2019
Read more

view all the publications

More about the book

Read here

Our strategy

Find out more

Our research portfolio

Find out more

Our partners

Meet our partners