‘The rebuilding of economies after the COVID-19 crisis offers a unique opportunity to transform the global food system and make it resilient to future shocks, ensuring environmentally sustainable and healthy nutrition for all’ state the authors of this thought-provoking IMF Blog.
The authors detail four broad shifts in the food system that United Nations organisations see as critical to creating resilient, sustainable global food systems going forward.
Resilient food supply chains ‘are essential to lowering the risks of food insecurity, malnutrition and food price fluctuations’, state the authors, who advocate ‘rural transformation to empower small producers and retailers and mainstream them in the food systems economy’ as a means of boosting food supply chain resilience.
Healthy diets and, in particular, ‘curbing the overconsumption of animal and highly-processed food in wealthier countries and improving access to good nutrition in poorer ones’, improves wellbeing, makes healthy food more affordable globally, promotes efficient land use and cuts carbon emissions. The authors recommend ‘retargeting agricultural subsidies toward healthy foods, taxing unhealthy foods and aligning procurement practices, education programs and health-care systems toward better diets’.
Regenerative farming, shifting towards promoting ‘sustainable and regenerative land and ocean farming connected to strong local and regional food systems, … facilitating market access and levelling the financial and regulatory playing field for smaller, sustainable farmers relative to large intensive farmers’.
Conservation, especially shifting from animal protein-rich diets to more plant-based diets in wealthier countries, is ‘key to saving pristine ecosystems, … restoring biodiversity, boost[ing] carbon sequestration and lower[ing] the risk of future pandemics’.
Source: Why Sustainable Food Systems are Needed in a post-COVID World I International Monetary Fund (IMF) blog