Harnessing agricultural biodiversity to reduce hunger and malnutrition

The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Initiative is co-ordinating a project on conservation and sustainable use for improved nutrition in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey. A brief Bioversity International report gives an insight.

“Harnessing agricultural biodiversity to reduce hunger and malnutrition” is the title of a recent publication by Bioversity International “Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Initiative” (Rome/Italy).

According to the global research-for-development organisation Bioversity International, the background of the brief report is that a vital link exists between agricultural biodiversity, health and nutrition. The biological variety that exists among crops, animals and other organisms used for food and agriculture plays an important role in providing the diversity of nutrients needed for healthy growth and living.

It can also provide a local solution to diet-related nutrition and health conditions, such as nutrient deficiencies and obesity, which are becoming a growing burden on already stretched health budgets and economies.

Yet much of this diversity and traditional knowledge associated with it is disappearing. Bioversity points out that The Global Environment Facility (GEF), the world’s largest public funder of international environmental projects, is supporting the 'Mainstreaming Biodiversity Conservation and Sustainable Use for Improved Nutrition and Well- Being' initiative led by Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey.
Bioversity International is co-ordinating the project with implementation support from the United Nations Environment Programme and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

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(Bioversity International/Ob)