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Future Smart Food: Rediscovering Hidden Treasures of Neglected and Underutilized Species for Zero Hunger in Asia


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Xuan Li
IFPRI-FAO conference side event, "Accelerating the End of Hunger and Malnutrition"
November 28–30, 2018
Bangkok, Thailand

Published in: Government & Nonprofit
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Future Smart Food: Rediscovering Hidden Treasures of Neglected and Underutilized Species for Zero Hunger in Asia

  1. 1. Future Smart Food: Rediscovering HiddenTreasures of Neglected and Underutilized Species for Zero Hunger in Asia Dr. Xuan Li Senior Policy Officer, Delivery Manager for Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific
  2. 2. Outline 1. Background: Zero Hunger/SDG2 2. Global challenges on food systems 3. The current food systems: Features and gaps 4. Future Smart Food (FSF): A means to bridge the dual gaps 5. FSF initiative past, now, way forward: Promoting FSF production, marketing and consumption
  3. 3. 1. Background: Zero Hunger/SDG2
  4. 4. 1.1 Hunger and Malnutrition
  5. 5. Overweight Obesity Micronutrient Deficiency Hunger 1.1 Hunger and Malnutrition A&P
  6. 6. 1.1 Hunger and Malnutrition Prevalence of Undernourishment (PoU) Number of Undernourished People (NoU) Source: FAO (2015) ❖ Countries’ Prevalence of Undernourishment ❖ Countries’ Stunting, Wasting and Underweight 32.4 43.8 35.1 37.4 23.9 26.5 22.6 30.1 9.6 6.4 7.9 11.3 0 10 20 30 40 50 Cambodia Lao PDR Myanmar Nepal Country’s Child Malnutrition Indicators 2011-14 Stunting Underweight wasting Source: UNICEF-WHO-World Bank joint database ❖ Countries’ Overweight and Obesity Source: WHO, NCD Country Profiles (2014); SUN (2015) ❖ Countries’ Prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies Source: WHO (2015) the prevalence of anaemia
  7. 7. 1.2 About ZHC and SDG2 “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture” by 2030 ZHC Pillars SDGs 1. 100% access to adequate f ood all year around SDG 2.1 End Hunger 2. Zero stunted children less than 2 years SDG 2.2 End all forms of malnutrition 3. All food systems are sustai nable SDG 2.4 Ensure sustainable food systems SDG 2.5 Maintain genetic diversity 4. 100% increase in smallhol der productivity and income SDG 2.3 Double agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers 5. Zero loss or waste of food SDG 12.3 Halve per capita global food waste at the retail and consumer levels and reduce food losses along production and supply chains, including post-harvest losses ❖ Zero Hunger and Sustainable Development Goal 2
  8. 8. 1.2 About Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger ❖ RI-ZH: Framework and Programatic areas (2018-19)
  9. 9. 2. Global Challenges on food systems
  10. 10. Projected declines in cereal yields owing to climate change in 2050, without adaptation (%)* Between 2003-2013, Asia was mainly affected by floods.  Climate Change  Declining Agricultural Diversity Source: using RAFI data. • 30,000 edible plant species have been identified globall y, of which 7,000 crop species have been used as foo d. • Just 3 crops (wheat, rice and maize) represent virtually half of the average daily calories consumed by the world population. • An estimated 75% of crop genetic diversity has been lost since 1990s 2.1 Supply constrains Source: FAO (2016)  Global Soil Erosion and Degradation Areas of serious concern Areas of some concern Stable or nonvegetative areas Evaporation Transpiration Evaporation Waterlogging Less permeable clay layer  Water Stress Source: FAO (2016), World Resources Institute (2015)
  11. 11.  Population Growth Implication: A 30% increase in global population would require a 50% increase in production to feed a projected 9.7 billion in 2050 2.2 Demand constrains  Urbanization  Rising Income • Rising income leads to changing dietary patterns towards other cereals than rice, more meat and dair y products Growth in AG commodity demand toward 2050…  Changing Consumption and Diets Food Consumption by Region 2005/07 vs 2050 ▪ Changing Consumption MENASARSSA LCR EAP Developed Percentage Increase 05/07 – 2050 183% 81% 79% 43% 30% 11% ▪ Changing Diets CEA 2013 based on FAO 2012, CCAFS 2015
  12. 12. 3.The current food systems: Features and Gaps
  13. 13. 3.1 Features of the current food systems: Source:WHO (2015) the prevalence of anaemia ❖Low Production Diversity Total of agricultural households growing rice [%] Myanmar 2012 Nepal 2012 Lao PDR 2012 Cambodia 2012 Commodities Production (MT) Commodities Production (MT) Commodities Production (MT) Commodities Production (MT) Rice, paddy 28 080 000 Rice, paddy 5 072 248 Rice, paddy 3 489 210 Rice, paddy 9 290 940 Sugar cane 10 000 000 Vegetables 3 298 816 Maize 1 125 485 Cassava 7 613 697 Vegetables 4 000 000 Sugar cane 2 930 047 Cassava 1 060 880 Maize 950 909 Beans, dry 3 900 000 Potatoes 2 584 301 Sugar cane 1 055 675 Vegetables 628 000 Maize 1 500 000 Maize 2 179 414 Vegetables 910 085 Sugar cane 573 771 The majority of agricultural households in Asia grow rice. • For many years, agricultural policies have been in favour of staple and cash crop production. • Intensification of single-crop systems to achieve higher yields of staple crops such as rice, wheat and maize has long been the single focus to reduce hunger without targeting micronutrient deficiencies. • Recent growth of cash crops, such as sugar cane and cassava, has accelerated the low crop diversity in farming systems.
  14. 14. 3.1 Features of the current food systems: ❖Low Dietary Diversity Source: FAOSTAT (DGE 2004; FAO 1997; USDA/USDHHS) Food supply in g per capita per day for a standard person of 70 kg body weight (2,000 kcal) Commodities Cambodia 2011 Lao PDR 2011 Myanmar 2013 Nepal 2013 Recommended daily intake [g] Cereals 475 489 397 529 300-500 overreliance on very few cereals (mainly rice)Roots and tubers 88 122 59 234 Pulses and legumes 14 8 38 35 50-150 Animal source foods (meat, fish, eggs) 146 110 278 49 Dairy 7 8 86 143 250-350 Fats and oils 27 19 59 34 15-30 Vegetables 106 367 223 313 >400 consumption of vegetables and fruits remains low Fruits 70 187 108 168
  15. 15. 3.1 Features in the current food systems: Disconnect of malnutrition, production and dietary diversity ❖Disconnect in Food System • Gaps: disconnect between malnutrition, dietary diversity and production diversity A leading cause of persistent malnutrition is poor dietary diversity (poor quality and variety of food in the diet).
  16. 16. 3.1 Features in the current food systems: example Disconnect of malnutrition, production and dietary diversity ❖Correlation: Malnutrition and Rice Consumption in Lao PDR
  17. 17. 3.2 Gaps in Current Agriculture and Food Systems ✓Production gap • Doubling yields in 2050 – require annual yield growth rates of more than 1.7% • Crop yield or partial factor productivities of land, water, fertilizer, and labor not pro mising: During the 1989-2008 period glob al yield growth rates maize (1.6%), rice (1. 0%), wheat (0.9%) and soybean (1.3%) -- i nsufficient for meeting future food dema nd without having to convert a lot more l and into agriculture • Farm yields are approaching economic u pper limits in highly productive areas. In major irrigated wheat, rice, and maize sy stems, yields appear to be near 80% of th e yield potential. ✓Nutrition gap • Increasing production of staple cr ops is not enough to accelerate re ductions in malnutrition. • “Nutrition gap”: the gap between what foods are grown and availabl e and what foods are needed for a healthy diet. It requires increasing availability and access to the food s necessary for a healthy diet. • Insufficient supply of nutrient-ric h foods
  18. 18. Paradigm shift required 3.2 Gaps in Current Agriculture and Food Systems
  19. 19. 4. Future Smart Food (FSF): A means to bridge the dual gaps (production gap and nutrition gap) towards Zero Hunger
  20. 20. Future Smart Food(FSF) : are Neglected and Underutilized Species (NUS) that are LocallyAvailable /adaptable Nutrition Dense Climate Resilient Economically Viable Future Smart Food Change the perceptions of NUS as unimportant, old fashioned, and ‘poor man’s food Healthy diet Good for children, youth and the future Neglected and underused crops (sometimes called “ minor", "orphan", "promising" and "little-used") are mostly wild or semi-domesticated species adapted to local environments. These traditional foods were in use for centuries but increasingly became forgotten when more productive (or profitable, or prestigious, or easier to process) crops replaced them in the farming systems. People often call them “Neglected and Unde rutilized Species (NUS)” as they only play a marginal role in current farming and food systems. Constrains ➢ Policy constrain ➢ Technical Constrain ➢ Market Constrain ➢ Institutional Constrain 4.1 Concept of FSF
  21. 21. 4.2 FSF: Availability and use ❖ 30,000 edible plant species have been identified globally, of which 7,000 crop species have been used as food. 7000 Globally Identified Edible Plant Species used as food 0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100% Used as food Commercial cultivation 90 % of energy in human diets rice, wheat, maize, potato Crop Species Used in Human Diets 150 crop species 103 crop species 62 crop species
  22. 22. FSF Food Groups Source: Bioversity International (2014) 4.2 FSF: Availability and use
  23. 23. Millets Tropical fruits Tap commercial potential an income/empowerment opportunities for marginal groups Pulses Tap suitability for climate- adaption and mitigation Reduce the risk of over-reliance on a few major staple crops by creating diverse and resilient cropping systems inAsia Multidimensional Benefits of FSF Improve micronutrient content in global diets 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  24. 24.  Nutritional Benefits of FSF Values for 100 g dry product •provide essential micro-nutrients and thus complement staple foods •high in carotenoids and minerals thus help to improve the micronutrient content in the diets •help address the deficiencies of lack of dietary diversity in developing countries where locally available fruit and vegetable are difficult to find and afford •enrich diets with healthier food addressing ‘’hidden hunger’ that are too rich in refined carbohydrates and fats. FSF can 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  25. 25.  Health Benefits of FSF ❖ Example: Impact of Iron Rich Lentil Diet on Iron DeficientAnemic Children in Sri Lanka WHO's hemoglobin thresholds used to define anemia (1 g/dL = 0.6206 mmol/L) Age or gender group Hb threshold (g/dl) Hb threshold (mmol/l) Children (0.5 - 5 years) 11.0 6.8 Children (5 - 12 years) 11.5 7.1 after 60 days, n=33 Indicator 0 days 60 days % improvement Hemoglobin (g/dL) 11.1 11.8 6.3 Serum Fe (㎍/dL) 51.5 89.8 74.4 Total Fe binding capacity (㎍/ dL) 405.3 377.6 -6.8 Trans ferritin saturation (%) 12.8 24.3 89.8 Serum ferritin (ng/ml) 29.5 41.2 39.7 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  26. 26.  Climate Resilience of FSF ❖ Example: Integrating Crop Genetic Diversity to Buffer against Unpredictable Environmental Change in the Nepal Himalayas • Seven locally adapted varieties of amaranth, beans, finger millet, foxtail millet and proso millet are identified and selected and capacity building activities are to enhance efficiency in processing, reduce drudgery of women and minimize of production in mountain landscapes Water use efficiency Crop rotation Soil ImprovementFSF •A total of 300 local varieties of 8 NUS are evaluated on-farm in partnership with local communities in mountain agroecosystems, out of which 60 superior and locally adapted ones are identified and promoted to reach 16,000 farmers in 2018 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  27. 27. ❖ Example:The Quinoa Boom on Bolivian Family Farmers FAO.2013  Economically viable benefits of FSF Almost all the current quinoa production is in the hands of small farmers and associations. Increased demand for Quinoa Increase in informal local trade More money available Better education Better public hygiene Better living condition 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  28. 28.  Locally availability of FSF ❖ Example : Edible wild plants of Bhutan and their contribution to food and nutrition security • There are many edible wild plants are wildly distributed around Bhutan. • In a 5 years of investigation, a total of 108 edible wild plants belonging to 53 families of Magnoliophyta were found, out of which 101 species were identified; a total of 20 edible wild plants belonging to five families of Pteridophyta were determined out of which 15 species were identified.Diplazium Elatostema lineolatum Thlaspi ar vense 4.3 FSF: A means to bridge the dual gaps
  29. 29. 5. FSF Initiative: Promoting FSF production, marketing and consumption towards Zero Hunger
  30. 30. ❖ Regional Priority-setting Exercise on Scoping, Prioritizing and Mapping of NUS 5.1 FSF Initiative: Past, Now, Way forward Enabling Environment for NUS Scoping • Study Preparation • Review • Report • Further Stud y (Mapping, Value Chain) Expert Consultation I II III Partnership, Team Building & Planning …October 2016 November 2016 December 2016 2017 a) Draft and review preliminary Scoping Reports on crop-related NUS in selected countries b) Rank and prioritize high-potential NUS based on established priority criteria c) Identify 5-6 NUS crops per country c) Strategize to enhance production and utilization of the selected crops in local diets
  31. 31. Cereals Roots &Tubers Pulses Fruits &Vegetables Nuts, Seeds & Spices Buckwheat Tartary buckwheat Foxtail millet Proso millet Finger millet Sorghum Amaranth Grain amaranth Quinoa Specialty rice Taro Swamp taro Purple yam Fancy yam Elephant’s foot yam Sweet potato Grass pea Faba bean Cow pea Mung bean Black gram Rice bean Lentil Horse gram Soybean Drumstick Chayote Fenugreek Snake gourd Pumpkin Roselle Indian gooseberry Jack fruit Wood apple Linseed Walnut Nepali butter tree Perilla Nepali pepper 39 crops from eight countries/States: Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan,Viet Nam,West Bengal (India) 5.1 FSF Initiative : Past, Now, Way forward • Prioritized NUS as FSF (based on 4-criteria)
  32. 32. International Partners: • FAO Special Ambassador for International Year of Pulses 2016 • ICRISAT • ICARDA • ICIMOD • Bioversity International • ACIAR • TFNet • Mahidol University • Asian Institute of Technology • MSSRF-LANSA • University of Western Australia National Partners: • Thailand International Cooperation Agency (TICA) • Bangladesh Agriculture Research Institute (BARI) • Cambodian Agricultural Research and Development Institute (CARDI) • Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, Bhutan • Department of Agricultural Research (DAR), Myanmar • National Agriculture and Forestry Research Institute of Lao PDR(NAFRI) • Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC) • Plant Resources Centre of Viet Nam (PRC) • Uttar Banga Krishi Visawavidyalaya of India (UBKV) 5.1 FSF Initiative : Past, Now, Way forward • Original Partners of FSF
  33. 33. 5.1 FSF Initiative: Past, Now, Way forward • Future Smart Food
  34. 34. 5.2 FSF Initiative: Integrating FSF into faming systems Example:Tapping Un-used Potential in rice-fallows Integration of Pulses in Rice-Fallow in IndiaRice-Fallow areas in South Asia
  35. 35. Selected crops as FSF5.3 FSF Initiative: Promoting FSF production, marketing and consumption Production = Supply Consumption = Demand • Increase productivity through higher resource use efficiency and innovative technologies • Diversification of existent cropping systems: Create incentives to produce additional crops next to rice • Manage food loss • Raise nutrition awareness of FSF • Integrating FSF into School Feeding/School Meal Programmes • Food waste and loss management for FSF Market Market ❖Strategies to Promote FSF
  36. 36. Selected crops as FSF5.3 FSF Initiative: Promoting FSF production, marketing and consumption Production Postharvest Trade and Marketing Consumption Multi-sectoral and Multi-stakeholder Better governance ConsumersFarmers and Farm Enterprises TradersProcessors WholesalersTransporters Warehouses RetailersFarmer Organizations 11/12/2018 ❖ Enabling Environment: Food System Approach
  37. 37. ❖ Way Forward 5.4 FSF Initiative: Way Forward Brainstorming How do you think FSF could be moved forward? 1) How to promote the production, marketin g and consumption of FSF? 2) Who could be good partners for FSF? 3) Innovative ideas to raise awareness of FSF? Resource Mobilization for Scaling-up FSF Awareness raising ✓ Future Smart Food fair • When: 28-30 November, Bangkok,Thailand • Objectives: the Fair is to share experience and raise awareness of the importance of FSF for ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition
  38. 38. Thank you! For more information, please contact: Dr. Xuan Li Senior Policy Officer, Delivery Manager for Regional Initiative on Zero Hunger FAO Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific Email: