#WorldHealthDay: Nutrition security and food safety essential for global health

April 07, 2021

GAP Initiative partners HarvestPlus, Purdue Center for Global Food Security, and Virginia Tech share stories of their efforts to strengthen the health of communities at risk from malnutrition and foodborne illnesses.


Biofortified maize provides nutrition and opportunities for coffee farmers in Colombia – HarvestPlus

The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that people everywhere need good nutrition to be resilient in the face of health threats and lead productive lives. For smallholder farming families and other vulnerable populations in low- and middle-income countries, nutrition deficiencies can be particularly debilitating, threatening these families’ health, livelihood, and ability to withstand shocks, including pandemics. Biofortified staple crops benefit the food supply chain, from the producers to the consumers — reducing the risk of being compromised by pandemics or other threats.

Foodborne disease education mollifies food safety risks for consumers and producers in Peru – Purdue Center for Global Food Security

In Peru, the economic losses from foodborne diseases annually is estimated to be $500 million (USD). Peru is one of the few countries in the Americas categorized in the World Health Organization sub-region stratum “D,” with known high child and adult mortality resulting from foodborne disease. In late 2018, a group of researchers at Purdue University, led by Amanda Deering and Haley Oliver from the Food Science department, began a project aimed to improve food safety in the Arequipa region. The strategy used by the group has involved observations of in-farm practices by field workers to develop a relevant course on good agricultural practices that would help reduce the risk of microbial contamination.

Markets for Nutritious Foods – Role for the Agricultural Sector in Market-Based Approaches to Nutrition in Mozambique – Virginia Tech

Given that, globally, more than 2 billion people suffer from deficiencies in micronutrients that are essential for human health, there is a need to identify ways to scale the distribution and demand for nutrient-rich foods, particularly among low-income populations. The agricultural sector also plays a key role in the availability and affordability of naturally nutrient-rich foods that play an essential role in high-equality diets. However, the potential the agricultural sector to support the success of market-based approaches to nutrition, particularly in the promotion of a variety of naturally nutrient-rich foods, has been largely unexplored.


Photo courtesy of HarvestPlus.

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