Food security and nutrition and sustainable agriculture

Food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture constitute fundamental elements that contribute significantly to the attainment of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These goals are a globally shared blueprint that calls for peace and prosperity for all people and the planet. Focusing on food security and nutrition is directly linked to SDG 2 which seeks to "End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture." Beyond SDG 2, these themes also relate to other SDGs such as Goal 3 - Good Health and Well-being, Goal 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production, and Goal 13 - Climate Action. The relationship between sustainable agriculture and these goals is profound; by promoting eco-friendly farming methods, we reduce the environmental footprint, mitigate climate change, and ensure the long-term sustainability of food production systems.

Moreover, sustainable agriculture is vital in fostering biodiversity, improving soil health, and enhancing water use efficiency, which are critical aspects related to Goals 14 and 15 - Life below Water and Life on Land respectively. By safeguarding our ecosystems, we not only ensure food security but also the preservation of the natural environment for future generations. In turn, better nutrition is a conduit to improved health (SDG 3), and it can also influence educational outcomes (SDG 4), given the known links between nutrition and cognitive development.

Furthermore, it is worth noting that the interconnections go beyond these goals. There's an important nexus between sustainable agriculture, food security and issues of poverty (SDG 1), gender equality (SDG 5), clean water and sanitation (SDG 6), and economic growth (SDG 8), among others. Sustainable agriculture creates job opportunities, thus reducing poverty levels. By empowering women in agriculture, we can help achieve gender equality. Proper water and sanitation practices in agriculture can prevent contamination, ensuring clean water and sanitation for all. Therefore, the triad of food security, nutrition, and sustainable agriculture, while being a significant goal in itself, is also a vehicle that drives the achievement of the wider Sustainable Development Goals.

2018 First prize winner Dr. Prajwal Rajbhandari
In 2018, Dr. Prajwal Rajbhandari was awarded the first prize of the Elsevier Foundation Green and Sustainable Chemistry Challenge for his project, “Guava leaves as natural preservatives for farmers of Nepal.” Due to a lack of viable non-toxic preservatives, or cold chain technologies, one-third of Nepal’s produce is spoiled before it reaches market each year. Dr. Rajbhandari’s project taps the antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of guava leaves to make a water-based, sprayable natural preservative, contributing to SDGs 2, 12 and 15. Two years later, we interviewed Dr. Rajbhandari about his experience as a winner, as well as the upcoming steps for his project.
Eradicating food insecurity is necessary for achieving global health goals. Liberal trade policies might increase food supplies but how these policies influence individual-level food insecurity remains uncertain. We aimed to assess the association between liberal trade policies and food insecurity at the individual level, and whether this association varies across country-income and household-income groups.
Insects are indispensable actors within global agri-food systems and ensure the delivery of myriad ecosystem services. A progressive decline in insect numbers — as inflicted by habitat loss, pollution or intensive agriculture — can jeopardize a sustained provisioning of those services. Though we routinely disregard how insects help meet multiple sustainable development challenges, a gradual insect decline can have grave, long-lasting consequences.
Tropical cropping systems are highly dependent on synthetic insecticides, which generates sustainability issues. We performed a bibliometric analysis of the current insecticide literature (2017–2019) and used the Sustainable Development Goals roadmap to identify research topics in insecticide research that should be promoted to attain sustainable cropping systems.
Termites are amongst the main macroinvertebrate decomposers in tropical ecosystems and they exert additional impacts through the creation of biostructures (mounds, galleries, sheetings, etc.) with different soil physical and chemical properties, thereby impacting positively on numerous ecosystem services for humankind. Unfortunately, this positive or ‘bright’ role of termites is often overshadowed by their ‘dark’ side, that is, their status as pests threatening agriculture and constructions.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Insect Science, Volume 40, August 2020
Viral diseases transmitted by mosquitoes, known as arboviruses, pose a significant threat to human life and are a major burden on many health systems around the world. Currently, arbovirus control strategies rely on insecticides or vector source reduction and, in the absence of effective, accessible and affordable vaccines, mainly on symptomatic based, non-specific treatments. However, insecticides have the potential to interfere with non-target organisms, cause environmental toxicity and insecticide resistance reduces their effectiveness as a sustainable control method.
Elsevier, Trends in Food Science and Technology, Volume 102, August 2020
Background: Plant-based meat alternatives are developed to address consumer demands and sustainability of future food supply, and the market has grown exponentially in recent years. Although progresses have been made to construct plant protein-based fibers organoleptically comparable to a whole-muscle cut, it remains challenging to reproduce the hierarchical organization of muscle tissue known to contribute to the overall sensory profile. For now, the market strategies are largely focused on restructured or formed meat mimeticks.
The Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) is the guiding policy for agriculture and the largest single budget item in the European Union (EU). Agriculture is essential to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), but the CAP's contribution to do so is uncertain. We analyzed the distribution of €59.4 billion of 2015 CAP payments and show that current CAP spending exacerbates income inequality within agriculture, while little funding supports climate-friendly and biodiverse farming regions.
Quality attributes such as moisture content, colour parameters and shrinkage of apples change undesirably during the drying process. Drying is a highly dynamic process, thus, an effective optimisation in terms of product quality and process performance requires continuous non-invasive measurement of the parameters in question.

Pages