Research Cooperation for Food Security and Nutrition

16 – 17 May 2019. Bonn, Germany. “Shaping the nutritional environment to promote a balanced diet (“Food environments for improved nutrition”.

The Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL)  organized a workshop to further specify the topics of its third call for proposals and to clarify the research needs in the area of “food environments for improved nutrition”.

The overall goal is to improve nutrition in the face of the double burden of malnutrition in the partner countries.

The aim of the workshop was to identify research gaps, research areas which are already sufficiently addressed and essential subsets of research questions to be considered.

  • Consumer markets: access to markets in rural and urban regions, the characteristics of the direct sales environment, questions of supply; the increasing importance of supermarkets.
  • Influence of nutrition education on consumer buying decisions and opportunities to optimise both in terms of a healthy diet in the target regions.
  • Influence of the structure and shape of food systems on nutrition.
  • Importance and use of information and communication technology (ICT) in “food environments”; Is there room for target-group-specific improvements using ICT?
  • What are the limits? Under what circumstances do consumer markets fail?
  • Which feasible, practical Government interventions to influence food markets and to improve diets (combat the double burden of malnutrition: overweight and obesity as well as stunting and lack of micronutrients) are already implemented? What are their weaknesses and successes with a view to promoting healthy nutrition?

Download here the Overview of the Agricultural Research Sector in Gemany

Upcoming call for proposals: (July 2019) Food environments for improved nutrition

As the food environment approach has so far predominantly been used in highincome countries, translating the concepts to address the specific needs and challenges in sub-Saharan Africa and South and Southeast Asia requires a regional adaptation. 

The adaptation needs to reflect the co-existence of formal and informal markets and the dynamic and complex nature of how food is acquired. The goal should be to create food environments that provide nutritious food to people across a variety of urban and rural settings and to facilitate healthy food choices. 
In order to reduce the individual, social and economic burdens caused by all forms of malnutrition, research should address nutrition-sensitive policies, measures and their implementation. To reach this goal and to implement effective research projects, the following key areas need further specification: 
  • Government interventions to influence and improve diets
  • (Non)functionality of consumer markets
  • The existing global and local food systems
  • The role of nutrition education, for example in families, schools, peer groups or media, as well as consumer buying decisions
  • The relevance of information and communication technology Furthermore, your input is required to clarify:
  • Who are the relevant actors and stakeholders that need to be included for linking food systems and food environment research in the BMEL partner countries?
  • What are state-of-the art and important lessons learned that need to be considered in future research projects? 
  • What are the particular constraints, limiting factors and bottlenecks ? 
  • What are research priorities?
Proposals will need:
  • to take a holistic perspective and consider the role of markets, trade, governance and regulating policies for value chains and food systems. They influence the quality of available food and peoples’ diets. 
  • to allow to better understand the socio-cultural and socio-economic dimensions of peoples consumption choices.

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