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Agroecology, women’s empowerment must to end malnutrition
In Nepal, many children who suffer from malnutrition belong to young mothers. Credit . Naresh Newar - IPS

Agroecology, women’s empowerment must to end malnutrition

A briefing paper by ActionAid sets out key priorities on nutrition and ensuring the right to adequate food and nutrition for all. It cites that globally, one in three people are malnourished and if current trends continue, this number could reach one in two by 2030. Many poor countries now experience a ”triple burden” of malnutrition, where hunger, ”hidden hunger” micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity may all co-exist.
The paper underscores the importance of first identifying the root causes of the nutrition crisis. Alongside poverty, deprivation and marginalization, one of the great structural causes of malnutrition is the broken food system. Added to this are powerful global drivers that compound the nutrition crisis in poor countries, such as urbanization, the nutrition transition, environmental degradation and climate change. The briefing emphasises the centrality of human rights and in particular of adopting the right to food and nutrition framework—with a focus on the most vulnerable and marginalized—as key to tackling the nutrition crisis successfully.
In order to achieve the ambitious global goal to end hunger and prevent all forms of malnutrition by 2030 under the UN Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, ActionAid makes four recommendations:
Governments to ensure poor nutrition is tackled more broadly through a major paradigm shift towards agroecology and rebuilding sustainable local food systems, based on the principles of food sovereignty. The great advantage of low-cost and low-external input agroecology is that it is highly inclusive, recognizes values and builds on the existing traditional knowledge and skills of women, small-scale farmers and other food producers and providers. Agroecology emphasizes social participation and social empowerment. It also improves resilience to climate change and delinks food production from reliance on fossil fuel.
Governments to put women’s human rights, women’s empowerment and women’s rights to land and other resources at the heart of efforts to tackle nutrition. Women currently provide 90% of the food consumed by the rural poor, and the FAO says that if women had the same access to productive resources as men, “they could increase yields on their farms by 20-30%”.
Governments to curb the market power and undue influence of agri-food transnational corporations (TNCs) and ensure powerful TNCs are much more tightly regulated at all levels to ensure the right to adequate food and tackle the malnutrition crisis.
Governments to democratise food system governance at all levels, and work harder to ensure the Committee on World Food Security (CFS) remains the foremost oversight and monitoring body for all major global food and nutrition strategies and initiatives to 2030.
Source: Third World Network