Overcoming undernutrition with local resources in Africa, Asia and Latin America


  • Paper presented at the Food Quality and Health Conference in Prague in May 2011.


Even in the 21st century, undernutrition is a challenge to be overcome. In the year 2009, 1.02 billion people were reported as food insecure and 180 million children were undernourished. Food insecurity and undernutrition are more than a lack of food energy: they are not reflected countrywide by prevalence means; they are mostly not permanent but seasonal; they are mostly not caused by insufficient amounts of food being produced; and they first affect parents and later children. Food insecurity and undernutrition often manifest themselves as micronutrient deficiency. While undernutrition is still a challenge for global nutrition, a second challenge has arisen: preventing caloric overnutrition. In various countries, food pyramids or food circles have been plotted supporting nutrition education and illustrating the challenge. Such integrative approaches are desirable for all countries of the world, as in all countries, to a smaller or larger extent, undernutrition and caloric overnutrition are the problems of today and tomorrow. The International Assessment of Agriculture for Science Technology and Development (IAASTD) has paid attention to the inescapable interconnectedness of agriculture's different roles and functions in the world and in all societies. Overcoming undernutrition with local resources means first protecting and promoting the use of local resources against imports of low-priced processed foods from subsidised production in industrialised countries; second, it means developing education and training material for regional food production with a nutrition orientation; and third, the experiences of organic farming can contribute much to support farmers in developing countries in planting their indigenous varieties and applying integrated pest management strategies. Copyright © 2012 Society of Chemical Industry