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

Transforming Food Systems: Evidence from Brazil, Rwanda and Vietnam

This entry originally appeared on the IFPRI Food Security Portal and was written by Sara Gustafson.

Ensuring food and nutrition security in the face of growing populations, increasing incomes and a changing climate will require countries to transform their food systems to be more sustainable and equitable. A 2016 report published by IFPRI and the Compact2025 Initiative looks at recent successful food system transformations in Brazil, Rwanda and Vietnam that helped significantly reduce hunger and undernutrition in these countries. The report provides several best practices and ways forward that other countries can use to launch their own improved food systems.

Strong agricultural productivity growth, increased private sector investment and enhanced partnerships between government, private sector and civil sector stakeholders were common factors in the food system transformations of all three countries. However, each of the three study countries took context-specific approaches that best targeted their individual needs and conditions.

In Brazil, food system transformation has hinged on a combination of strong macroeconomic policies, increased investment in agricultural research and development (specifically technology-driven agribusiness), and strong social protection programs. These strategies helped Brazil transition from being a net food importer in the 1960s and 1970s to exporting USD 100 billion in agricultural raw materials and food in 2013. During the same general time period (1975-2010), Brazil reached annual agricultural productivity growth of 3 percent.

Government-led efforts in Brazil have focused on agricultural research and development, run primarily through the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa), which comprises 46 research centers across the country. Brazil’s official credit system has also played a leading role in the country’s food system transformation by providing bonds for long-term agricultural investment and investing in basic infrastructure such as ports and roads throughout the country. Investments in warehouse capacity and agricultural insurance have helped improve... Read more at the Food Security Portal.