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.

Despite much policy attention to agricultural development in South Africa, efforts since democratisation have failed to raise smallholder engagement in agriculture and to break the trend of persistent rural poverty. This paper presents results from a study of the Massive Food Production Programme (MFPP) in three villages in Eastern Cape Province, South Africa. The MFPP aimed to reduce poverty by raising maize yields.
As the post-MDG era approaches in 2016, reducing child undernutrition is gaining high priority on the international development agenda, both as a maker and marker of development. Revisiting Smith and Haddad (2000), we use data from 1970 to 2012 for 116 countries, finding that safe water access, sanitation, women's education, gender equality, and the quantity and quality of food available in countries have been key drivers of past reductions in stunting. Income growth and governance played essential facilitating roles.
Tenebrio molitor in the form of mealworm (left) and beetle (right). Photos by author.
Scientists in the Netherlands are cultivating edible insects to address concerns of international food security. Committed to the One World, One Health (OWOH) movement, their research aims to create a safe and effective global solution to the conjoined problems of climate change and an increasing worldwide demand for protein. Their preliminary work is promising, as it suggests that when compared to other sources of meat, insects can be an efficient, safe, and low-impact source of nutrients. Additionally, in many sites with endemic malnutrition, people find insects tasty.
A changing climate alters the living conditions for almost every species on earth. We recognise that these changes may threaten our environment, our water and food supply, and our health; predicting the likely changes and impacts we try to prepare for different weather conditions. A complicated and perhaps underestimated threat is how climate change may affect foodborne parasites - a subject that tends to be neglected among infectious diseases under any climatic conditions.

Voluntary standards are gaining in importance in global markets for high-value foods. We analyze and compare impacts of three sustainability-oriented standards - Fairtrade, Organic, and UTZ - on the livelihoods of smallholder coffee farmers in Uganda. Using survey data and propensity score matching with multiple treatments, we find that Fairtrade certification increases household living standards by 30% and reduces the prevalence and depth of poverty. For the other two certification schemes, no significant impacts are found.

Elsevier, Environmental Modelling and Software, Volume 62, December 01, 2014
Agricultural systems models worldwide are increasingly being used to explore options and solutions for the food security, climate change adaptation and mitigation and carbon trading problem domains. APSIM (Agricultural Production Systems sIMulator) is one such model that continues to be applied and adapted to this challenging research agenda.
Elsevier, Global Environmental Change, Volume 28, September 01, 2014
This paper examines the development and use of scenarios as an approach to guide action in multi-level, multi-actor adaptation contexts such as food security under climate change. Three challenges are highlighted: (1) ensuring the appropriate scope for action; (2) moving beyond intervention-based decision guidance; and (3) developing long-term shared capacity for strategic planning. To overcome these challenges we have applied explorative scenarios and normative back-casting with stakeholders from different sectors at the regional level in East Africa.
Focused on a Green Future
Italy's leading petrochemical producer, Versalis has taken a fundamental shift in its strategy and direction, to renew its focus on innovation and green chemistry, providing opportunities for growth. This is the ICIS/Versalis supplement about green and bio-based chemicals and sustainabliity with videos embedded. Green chemistry fits in with SDG 9 Industry Innovation and SDG 7 Affordable Clean Energy.
Elsevier, Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice, Volume 103, February 2014
Introduction: Diabetes is a serious and increasing global health burden and estimates of prevalence are essential for appropriate allocation of resources and monitoring of trends. Methods: We conducted a literature search of studies reporting the age-specific prevalence for diabetes and used the Analytic Hierarchy Process to systematically select studies to generate estimates for 219 countries and territories. Estimates for countries without available source data were modelled from pooled estimates of countries that were similar in regard to geography, ethnicity, and economic development.
Elsevier, Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, Volume 8, June 2014
Sub-Saharan Africa needs to produce more food, feed, and fiber to support its growing population and intensification of smallholder agriculture is a crucial component of any strategy towards this goal. Sustainable Intensification (SI) acknowledges that enhanced productivity needs to go hand in hand with the maintenance of other ecosystem services and enhanced resilience to shocks. A very diverse group of smallholders dominate SSA agriculture, with large heterogeneity in socio-technical conditions, famer typologies, production objectives, and the biophysical environment.