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Guatemala City, Guatemala

Qaim M.,Rural University
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society | Year: 2016

The globalisation of agrifood systems is a mega-trend with potentially profound nutritional implications. This paper describes various facets of this globalisation process and reviews studies on nutritional effects with a particular focus on developing countries. Results show that global trade and technological change in agriculture have substantially improved food security in recent decades, although intensified production systems have also contributed to environmental problems in some regions. New agricultural technologies and policies need to place more emphasis on promoting dietary diversity and reducing environmental externalities. Globalising agrifood systems also involve changing supply-chain structures, with a rapid rise of modern retailing, new food safety and food quality standards, and higher levels of vertical integration. Studies show that emerging high-value supply chains can contribute to income growth in the small farm sector and improved access to food for rural and urban populations. However, there is also evidence that the retail revolution in developing countries, with its growing role of supermarkets and processed foods, can contribute to overweight and obesity among consumers. The multi-faceted linkages between changing agrifood systems and nutrition are a new field of interdisciplinary research, combining agricultural, nutritional, economics and social sciences perspectives. The number of studies on specific aspects is still limited, so the evidence is not yet conclusive. A review at this early stage can help to better understand important relationships and encourage follow-up work. Copyright © The Authors 2016 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Source

Cumming G.S.,University of Cape Town | Buerkert A.,University of Kassel | Hoffmann E.M.,University of Kassel | Schlecht E.,University of Gottingen | And 2 more authors.
Nature | Year: 2014

Historically, farmers and hunter-gatherers relied directly on ecosystem services, which they both exploited and enjoyed. Urban populations still rely on ecosystems, but prioritize non-ecosystem services (socioeconomic). Population growth and densification increase the scale and change the nature of both ecosystem- and non-ecosystem-service supply and demand, weakening direct feedbacks between ecosystems and societies and potentially pushing social-ecological systems into traps that can lead to collapse. The interacting and mutually reinforcing processes of technological change, population growth and urbanization contribute to over-exploitation of ecosystems through complex feedbacks that have important implications for sustainable resource use. © 2014 Macmillan Publishers Limited. All rights reserved. Source

Schipmann C.,International Crops Research Institute for the Semi Arid Tropics ICRISAT | Qaim M.,Rural University
Food Policy | Year: 2011

There is an emerging body of literature analyzing how smallholder farmers in developing countries can be linked to modern supply chains. However, most of the available studies concentrate on farm and farmer characteristics, failing to capture details of institutional arrangements between farmers and traders. Moreover, farmers' preferences have rarely been considered. Here, we address these gaps by analyzing different market channels for sweet pepper in Thailand. Using data from a survey and choice experiment with farmers, we find that there is a general preference for marketing options that do not involve a contract. Additional provision of inputs and credit can increase the attractiveness of contracts. Yet, the most important factor for farmers is to personally know the buyer they deal with, which may be related to issues of trust. Some policy implications are discussed. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Krishna V.V.,International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center | Qaim M.,Rural University
Agricultural Systems | Year: 2012

Studies from different countries show that transgenic Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) crops can reduce chemical pesticide use with positive economic, environmental, and health effects. However, most of these studies build on cross-section survey data, so that longer term effects have not been analyzed. Bt resistance and secondary pest outbreaks may potentially reduce or eliminate the benefits over time, especially in developing countries where refuge strategies are often not implemented. Here, we use data from a unique panel survey of cotton farmers conducted in India between 2002 and 2008. Accounting for possible selection bias, we show that the Bt pesticide reducing effect has been sustainable. In spite of an increase in pesticide sprays against secondary pests, total pesticide use has decreased significantly over time. Bt has also reduced pesticide applications by non-Bt farmers. These results mitigate the concern that Bt technology would soon become obsolete in small farmer environments. The survey data on actual pesticide use in farmers' fields complement previous entomological research. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd. Source

Seal C.J.,Northumbria University | Brownlee I.A.,Rural University
Proceedings of the Nutrition Society | Year: 2015

Cereal-based foods are key components of the diet and they dominate most food-based dietary recommendations in order to achieve targets for intake of carbohydrate, protein and dietary fibre. Processing (milling) of grains to produce refined grain products removes key nutrients and phytochemicals from the flour and although in some countries nutrients may be replaced with mandatory fortification, overall this refinement reduces their potential nutritional quality. There is increasing evidence from both observational and intervention studies that increased intake of less-refined, whole-grain (WG) foods has positive health benefits. The highest WG consumers are consistently shown to have lower risk of developing CVD, type 2 diabetes and some cancers. WG consumers may also have better digestive health and are likely to have lower BMI and gain less weight over time. The bulk of the evidence for the benefits of WG comes from observational studies, but evidence of benefit in intervention studies and potential mechanisms of action is increasing. Overall this evidence supports the promotion of WG foods over refined grain foods in the diet, but this would require adoption of standard definitions of 'whole grain' and 'whole-grain foods' which will enable innovation by food manufacturers, provide clarity for the consumer and encourage the implementation of food-based dietary recommendations and public health strategies. Copyright © The Authors 2015. Source

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