NCDs, Agriculture and Food
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Policy Seminar presentation by Tim Lang at IFPRI on September 7, 2011 "Leveraging Agriculture to Tackle Noncommunicable Diseases"

Policy Seminar presentation by Tim Lang at IFPRI on September 7, 2011 "Leveraging Agriculture to Tackle Noncommunicable Diseases"

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NCDs, Agriculture and Food Presentation Transcript

  • 1.
    • NCDs, Agriculture and Food
    • Tim Lang
    • Centre for Food Policy, City University London
    • [email_address]
    • Paper to IFPRI seminar
    • Washington DC
    • Sept 7, 2011
  • 2. 1. The Problem
  • 3. NCDs
    • Well documented problem for decades
      • Academics: Ancel Keys et al since 1970
      • WHO et al since 1980s
      • WHO & FAO in joint position since 2003
    • Need for some honesty
      • It’s not been taken seriously by Developing Country food and farming perspectives
      • Seen as ‘Western’ / rich society problem
      • Complicates the ‘productionist’ policy paradigm
      • Lacked serious champions
  • 4. Yet strong evidence on NCDs (WHO Global Status 2011 report) http://www.who.int/nmh/publications/ncd_report2010/en/
    • NCDs caused 63% of deaths in 2008 worldwide
      • c.80% of those were in low & middle income countries
    • Main causes of premature death:
      • cardiovascular (17 m), cancer (7.6 m), respiratory disease (4.2 m), diabetes (1.3 m).
    • NCDs have 4 common risk factors:
      • tobacco
      • exercise
      • alcohol
      • poor diets
  • 5. WHO’s mooted ‘solutions’
    • ‘ Best Buys’
    • Smoking restrictions
    • alcohol access, ads, costs;
    • Reduce salt intake
    • Replace trans-fats by polyunsaturated fat
    • Promote public awareness about diet and physical activity
    • Also….
    • Restrict marketing of foods and soft drinks
    • Food taxes to favour healthy diets
    • Healthy school enviro’t
    • Built enviro’t to encourage activity
  • 6. 2011 UN High Level meeting
    • To be welcomed
    • Follows up on:
      • 2002/3 WHRs
      • Global Strategy 2004
    • but could be another case of…
      • Mismatch between evidence and policy
      • already subject to lobbying
      • See concerns in The Lancet
    • We must not let a mess happen
  • 7. 2. What’s driving this food world?
  • 8. The Productionist Paradigm (the success of 1930s science) Lang & Heasman ( 2004) Food Wars
    • Science + capital + distribution  output  cheaper food  health
    • = progress
  • 9. Linking food, health, income & justice John Boyd Orr (1880-1971) public health researcher 1 st D-G of FAO Sicco Mansholt (1908-1995) 1 st European Agriculture Commissioner for 1958-1972
  • 10. This doesn’t fit the 21 st century
    • It addressed the Malthusian problem, but…
      • Relied on oil to raise production
      • Mined the environment
      • Assumed more food is good for health
      • Assumed humans eat rationally
      • Assumes ever expanding choice = public good
      • Focused policy attention on the farm
      • Ignores how power has shifted down the supply chain  traders and retailers
  • 11. NCDs are cultural problems too
    • Nutrition Transition is cultural not just nutrients
    • Importance of social aspirations
      • e.g. meat = wealth / social status
    • Impact of ‘consciousness industries’:
      • marketing, advertising, media
    • Forms of waste have changed
    • Food is more than nutrients + eco-footprint
  • 12. Fat is overproduced yet consumers are told to eat less Source: WHO/FAO (2003) Diet, Nutrition and the Prevention of Chronic Diseases . WHO TR 916 p.18
  • 13. 3. What is needed?
  • 14. Battle of 5 policy positions
    • ‘ It’s all dangerous, so avoid, ignore & resist ’
      • Neo-cons, trading nations, some (not all) big business
    • ‘ Business-as-usual’ (consumer responsibility):
      • Pragmatists, slow incrementalism
    • ‘ Leave it to companies’ : (single company action)
      • Eg Unilever 2010, PepsiCo (bits), SAI
    • ‘ Sustainable intensification ’: (production focus)
      • UK Foresight (Jan 2011), FAO Sust’ble Crop Intensific’n Div
    • ‘ Whole system change ’: (structural focus)
      • Policy outer circle, NGOs, green businesses
  • 15. C21st food system faces complex demands a world ‘omni-standards’ and ‘poly-values’ Quality Social values
    • Taste
    • Seasonality
    • Cosmetic
    • Fresh (where appropriate)
    • Authenticity
    • Pleasure
    • Identity
    • Animal welfare
    • Equality & justice
    • Trust
    • Choice
    • Skills (citizenship)
    Environment Health
    • Climate change
    • Energy use
    • Water
    • Land use
    • Soil
    • Biodiversity
    • Waste reduction
    • Safety
    • Nutrition
    • Equal access
    • Availability
    • Social status/ affordability
    • Information & education
    Economy Governance
    • Food security & resilience
    • Affordability (price)
    • Efficiency
    • True competition & fair returns
    • Jobs & decent working conditions
    • Fully internalised costs
    • Science & technology evidence base
    • Transparency
    • Democratic accountability
    • Ethical values (fairness)
    • International aid & development
  • 16. Facing reality
    • It’s taken 60-70 years to build the current unsustainable food system
    • We need to start big change over c 30-40 yrs
    • No one solution will fit everywhere
    • Some new frameworks & principles are emerging
    • But there’s a danger of neo-Malthusianism panicking the governments into neo-productionism
      • Eg FAO arguing 70% more food needed by 2050
  • 17. 4 key realities of contemporary food and health governance
    • Food Policy is multi-sectoral
    • Multi level governance is both above and below the nation state
    • Private sector governance of food supply chains is now more important
    • Health is weak compared to other interests
  • 18. Messages to IFPRI
    • Think Sustainable Food Systems, not just farms
    • More emphasis on consumption not just production
    • More on plants, less on meat & dairy
    • New forms of waste (contracts & specific’ns)
    • Equitable distribution means less in the West
    • Full cost accounting for food prices
    • Poly-value approach to food systems
  • 19. Mind- and data-shifts required From... To.... How to increase output for current diets What do bodies need and how can farming grow it How to mine resources for food How to build production on ecological principles How to lower prices How to reflect full costs How to be more efficient How to redefine what is meant by efficiency
  • 20. change what & how we eat = sustainable diets FOOD WHY WHAT Meat Cancer; water; land use Offer less; mainly or only grass-fed Coffee / tea Water; labour conditions Less; only fair trade; drink water Fruit All year round? Seasonal Fish Health vs. fish stock collapse Eat less; only accredited – wild catch & farmed Vegetables Health; water; GHGs; Kenyan beans? Seasonal greens
  • 21. Conclusions
    • We have much to do
    • No simple solutions
    • Different solutions for different locations
    • UN High Level Meeting offers a pause moment
    • The current policy discourse is too focussed on production