ENSURING FUTURE FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL SECURITY IN THE CONTEXT OF A WARMING WORLD WITH MORE LIMITED NATURAL RESOURCES
Malnutrition is worst in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia, but over the next 40 years food production in these regions will need to increase more than double to meet the needs of population growth. In both regions smallholder farmers will continue to provide the bulk of food production as climate change brings more extremes of drought and flooding, making crop production more risky. Malnutrition is primarily a hidden hunger that severely stunts human potential due to a lack of vital protein and micronutrients such as vitamins or minerals. Starvation and obesity are extreme expressions of malnutrition. A past focus on increasing production of staple crops has exacerbated the problem of imbalanced diets and malnutrition, and decreased diversity in cropping systems. Vegetables are our most important source of micronutrients and a vital source of protein, but production in most countries is well below the minimum to provide a basic balanced diet for all. Hardy vegetables produced by smallholder farmers should have a vital role to play in overcoming malnutrition, particularly in South Asia, Africa, and the Pacific. Although often seen as undervalued weeds in the past, easily grown indigenous vegetables are an extremely important source of nutrition for the poorest. Wider use of improved lines can significantly increase nutritional security. Improved varieties of globally important vegetables and new production systems that permit production under extremes of drought or flooding also are needed. All people are interested in their food, but a professional disconnect has developed between agriculturalists and health profess¬sionals who view the human food chain from the opposite ends of production or consumption. A common focus on nutritional security provides a professional meeting point and an opportunity to market horticulture to a generation of students who may have little background in food production, but are certainly interested in its consump¬tion.
Keatinge, J.D.H., Easdown, W.J., Hughes, J.DA., Yang, R.-Y. and Symonds, R. (2011). ENSURING FUTURE FOOD AND NUTRITIONAL SECURITY IN THE CONTEXT OF A WARMING WORLD WITH MORE LIMITED NATURAL RESOURCES. Acta Hortic. 916, 47-58
education, health, malnutrition, micronutrients, vegetables, smallholders