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Shouldn't We Be Farming For Nutrition?

February 15, 2011

Over 900 farm, health and nutrition experts from over 60 countries gathered in New Delhi at a conference on "Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health," organized by the International Food Policy Research Institute.

These experts are calling on nations “to incorporate health and nutrition as a goal in farming…nations must see agriculture as more than a food producing machine as it is linked to people's well being in many ways.”

The world’s farmers grow more and more food every year for an ever-expanding population. Inevitably, overproduction means increased waste and bins of corn, soybeans, and other mass produced grains that begin to overflow. But still there are people in the world starving and lacking the vital nutrition for survival, let alone optimal health.

Considering one-sixth of the world’s population goes hungry every day and even more individuals are malnourished, experts gather to find a solution to the problem.

There’s no easy answer about how to effectively nourish the population when there are looming issues like food surplus in some industries, climate change’s impact on agricultural productivity, and rising food costs. 

"Food production and distribution does not really reflect what humans need to eat and instead tends to reflect more what farmers and larger food buying and selling organizations want to make money from," said, David Nabarro, the United Nations special representative on food security.

There’s a disconnect between what foods are needed for nourishment, what big agriculture profits from and what the farmers are actually growing. How can we align our goals so that food and nutritional needs are met?

It is definitely encouraging to see experts from 60 countries coming together to find a solution to world health issues, but is it enough to spark real change?

What if?

More farmers used organic growing practices that naturally enhance crops nutrition.

And…

Food industry companies committed to less processing that depletes nutrients from foods.

What are your ideas on solving this world health issue? Use your voice here and propose your own solution.