Having a balanced and nutritious diet as an everyday routine isn’t true for many families and individuals worldwide. Healthy diet comprises of five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. However, the cost of this diet isn’t affordable in most countries in Global south. Approximately three billion remains undernourished as they cannot afford to purchase the quality food.
Keeping the hunger aside, problems related to overweight, and obesity are quite rapidly increasing all over the world and affect families of all income groups. Malnutrition in all its forms, be it related to obesity, overweight, under nutrition or micronutrient deficiency has penetrated and is prevalent in different strata of the society. It needs a long term, sustainable fix. We need to grow and trade more, as well as make the nutritious food available to a larger population. All of this needs robust planning, support policies, research and partnerships and awareness.
Economic growth alone is not an indicator of resolving hunger and malnutrition. Nutrition needs to be integrated as a clear objective in governmental policies, budgets and programmes for all income groups. Global to local cross-sectoral nutrition strategies will help in alleviating the situation of malnutrition and global hunger. A healthier population will be happier, more productive and will have reduced spent on medical issues, a scenario that will be a win for the entire society.
Sustainable food systems facilitate healthy food choices and availability of sustainable food for all. Including people with specific requirements such as adolescent girls, pregnant and lactating mothers, young children, sick people or elderly that require special nutrition. Similarly marginalized people with less control over their diet should gain maximum benefits out of the policies laid down to quench hunger and malnutrition.
Diversifying crop species to more nutritious and sustainable approaches can help address this challenging problem of hunger and malnutrition. Biotechnology (GM and Gene editing) is a medium through which Grains, Fruits and vegetables can be enhanced nutritionally. Science based solutions can strengthen how our food is grown. Soil nutrients, an important part to ensure quality food, can be managed more easily through the use of digital technology in the fields as well.
Abundant crop production without compromising on nutrient quality is essential and scientific solutions are certainly the answer to achieve it.