Weekly Overview: Understanding Food Production to Address Malnutrition

ANALYSIS - Understanding more about food production can address the current challenges that see 2 billion people in the world go malnourished and 1.4 billion classed as overweight, according to a new report from the Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations.
calendar icon 17 October 2013
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The FAO ahead of World Food Day announced that the diversity of food and food production methods is the answer to the undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies affecting the world’s populations,

The report shows that the cost of malnutrition, through lost productivity and healthcare, could be as high as five per cent of global income.

Other revealing figures are laid out in the group's World Food Day paper which communicates a simple ethos: Healthy People Depend on Healthy Food Systems.

The report explains the importance of eating a ‘variety of foods’ and that this involves a balance of quality and quantity to provide a full range of nutrients.

Agriculture’s role in providing such a balance is emphasised as part of a three way combination also consisting of health care and sanitation.

Without the right people, processes and environment in place, food systems are not ‘healthy’ and, in the absence of a properly functioning food system, the paper said that medical technologies are often forced to intervene.

The report says that medical action, such as vitamin supplements, ‘cannot substitute in the long term for the broader nutritional benefits offered by healthy, balanced diets from a well-functioning food system.’

The EU Special Committee on Agriculture (SCA) has approved the final compromise texts of the Common Agriculture Policy (CAP) reform package.

The package was initially agreed by the Council and the European Parliament representatives on 24 September.

The main elements of the political agreement on the CAP reform are:

the proposal for a regulation establishing rules for direct payments to farmersthe proposal for a regulation establishing a common organisation of the markets in agricultural productsthe proposal for a regulation on support for rural developmentthe proposal for a regulation on the financing, management and monitoring of the CAP (horizontal regulation).

The current global situation regarding avian influenza has seen the report of a 35 year old man in Zhejiang province in China found to be infected with H7N9 bird flu.

In Australia, the veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) at a poultry farm in New South Wales, affecting free-range and cage layer hens aged between 22 and 79 weeks.

The Vietnamese veterinary authorities have reported an outbreak of highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI) in Hoa Binh, affecting ducks and chickens.

The Philippines has issued a temporary ban on imports of poultry meat products, domestic and wild birds including day old chicks, eggs and semen from Chinese Taipei, because of the presence of low pathogen avian influenza.

And Hong Kong has banned the imports of poultry and poultry products from Italy's Lombardy Region due to threat of avian flu.

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