Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Reader's Corner: FTF Progress Report, nutrition during economic transformation, two types of value chain initiatives

Welcome to the latest installment of the Agrilinks Reader’s Corner, a blog series on agriculture issues from agribusiness and food security specialist Veronica Letelier. See what Veronica is reading this week...

Feed the Future (FTF) Progress Report

Released in October of this year, the progress report presents early performance indicators on initial investments reported in the Feed the Future Monitoring System in Fiscal Year 2011. It presents progress from May 2009 through May 2012. According to page 12 of the report, during this period, FTF helped 6.6 million rural households and over 1.7 farmers and others who have applied new technologies or management practices as a result of U.S. Government assistance. In addition, over 8.8 million children under 5 were reached by USG-supported nutrition programs.

Does high-productivity agriculture lead to the oversupply of cheap food of the “wrong kinds”?

In "Support for agriculture during economic transformation: Impacts on poverty and undernutrition," Patrick Webb and Steven Block of the Friedman School of Nutrition and Policy at Tuffs University observe that although the main contributor to the global burden of disease still is undernutrition, more than 84 percent of the diseases tied to high body mass index, high cholesterol, high blood glucose, low fruit and vegetable intake, and physical inactivity occur in low-, and middle-income countries. This paper explores the links among economic growth, nutrition, and health conditioned on levels of public support for agriculture. Based on multiyear observations for 29 countries covering three continents, the authors investigate relationships between economic transformation and changing patterns of health, underpinned by global changes in food systems and dietary choices. Closer examination shows that it is agricultural income per capita in particular (controlling for rural population share) that drives falling undernutrition.

Convergent innovation

The articles assembled in this PNAS special issue report on science, policies, and actions are directed at agricultural development for nutrition security through a richer integration of smallholders into national and global agricultural and health systems as well as into value chains and markets. It calls for a roadmap for a transdisciplinary science to support change of sufficient scale and scope. It is a call for a convergence-building and solution-oriented approach to science, policies, and actions.

Two types of value chain initiatives

This article, "Using the base-of-the-pyramid perspective to catalyze interdependence-based collaborations," differentiates between donor-led value chains (DLIs) and enterprise led initiatives (ELIs). It demonstrates the strengths and weaknesses that these two types of value chains initiatives have as they pass through the stages of design, implementation, and sustainability. Although these approaches are complementary, the two sectors—donors and enterprises—have largely maintained their independence. Using the lens of the bottom of the pyramid (BoP) perspective, the authors propose a new model based on collaborative interdependence to better integrate the relatively high floor of DLIs with the relatively high ceiling of ELIs.