How to diversify diets, improve diet quality and increase smallholder incomes in commercial food systems in five steps.
To nutritiously and sustainably feed 9 billion people by 2050 without causing additional resource depletion and damage to our planet. Healthy, diversified diets consisting of nutrient-rich sources of food, such as animal source foods, fruits, vegetables, beans and pulses need to be made available, accessible, affordable and acceptable.
Population growth is coinciding with more poorly nourished people, and related health problems. With thousands of species to choose from, and millions of varieties from within these species, there is great potential to spice up diets and improve nutrition. Yet, just three – rice, wheat and maize – provide more than 50% of the world's plant-derived calories.
Bioversity International explores how agrobiodiversity can be better used within food production systems to improve access to nutritionally-rich food sources and increase dietary diversity. Wild and indigenous plants, fruit trees and animal species - often more nutritious than their better known exotic counterparts - can be combined in portfolios to provide year-round harvest of healthy, nutrient-dense foods, which fill hunger and specific nutrient gaps.
Biodiversity is essential for both human nutrition and sustainable food systems. To monitor progress in achieving healthy and environmentally sustainable diets, researchers must be able to measure the direct relationship between biodiversity in the landscape and biodiversity in the diets, and subsequently diet quality. However, the indicators used so far are not validated from a nutritional point of view.
A recent study has brought to light a much-needed and validated food biodiversity indicator capable of evaluating, for the first time, the positive correlation between agricultural biodiversity and diet quality.
Bioversity International and partners are investigating how vitamin A-rich bananas from South Asia and the Pacific can be integrated into Eastern African diets to tackle one of the biggest health problems in the region, vitamin A deficiency. A recent study highlights taste tests and agronomic trials’ positive contributions to farmers’ high receptiveness to species from the Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Ghana.
A new framework will guide practitioners to use a broad portfolio of crop species to bring nutrition back to the table.