I recently learned about a new group that launched at the ICN2 conference in Rome in November 2014: The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition. I’ve been reading their publications to date and they seem quite refreshing and practical. The Panel recognizes that our policy needs are changing as a result of changes in our food system. It is no longer simply sufficient to continue the call for greater agricultural productivity. We must also consider improving diet quality, increasing product diversity, supporting national infrastructure, and supporting producers of all sizes. Overall, I thought that the various global success stories, the reasonable policy options, and the utter practicality of the technical brief made it well worth a read. My three main critiques/concerns would be:
- They made no mention, anywhere, of clean drinking water;
- They seem to support genetic engineering, even as they state one of their goals as “to help generate and stimulate a stronger evidence base for… changes in agriculture and food systems”; and
- International development is a noble goal but with often disastrous consequences. The Panel hinted at, but did not give specific examples of, how to approach the development aspect without harming indigenous peoples, systems, or cultures.
You can see a video, the summary brief, and the technical brief here; or for the technical brief, click the image below.