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Reshaping food systems: The imperative of inclusion

In: 2020 Global food policy report: Building inclusive food systems


  • Fan, Shenggen
  • Swinnen, Johan


Our food systems are at a critical juncture. The challenges the world faces in feeding a growing population may seem familiar, but their scale and the pace of change taking place in global, regional, national, and local food systems are unprecedented. After making significant strides in reducing hunger during the past decades, our progress has slowed and, by some measures, has been reversed: in 2018, 820 million people were projected to be hungry—a figure that has climbed for three consecutive years—and a quarter of the global population faced moderate to extreme food insecurity.1 Overweight and obesity are rising in almost every country, and progress on key nutrition indicators such as child stunting and exclusive breastfeeding has lagged, putting the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of zero hunger by 2030 seemingly out of reach. But just as critical, global inequality persists. Even as emerging economies and developing countries have continued to grow, albeit slowly, their citizens do not enjoy equal access to resources associated with economic development and a better quality of life. As a result, the world’s poorest and most vulnerable are likely to bear the brunt of shocks, including the deadly global outbreak of the novel coronavirus in late 2019 and early 2020, that disrupt livelihoods and food systems. Hunger and malnutrition are likely to rise in 2020 as the pandemic impacts all aspects of our food systems. In the short term, targeted programs are needed to protect children, women, and other vulnerable population groups. To reduce the impact of such shocks in the long term, we must build more resilient and inclusive food systems. It is currently too difficult for the world’s poorest and most vulnerable to enjoy these systems’ outcomes, such as affordable, safe, and nutritious foods, or to share fairly in their economic benefits.

Suggested Citation

  • Fan, Shenggen & Swinnen, Johan, 2020. "Reshaping food systems: The imperative of inclusion," IFPRI book chapters, in: 2020 Global food policy report: Building inclusive food systems, chapter 1, pages 6-13, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:ifpric:9780896293670_01

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    Cited by:

    1. Agnes Quisumbing & Jessica Heckert & Simone Faas & Gayathri Ramani & Kalyani Raghunathan & Hazel Malapit, 2021. "Women’s empowerment and gender equality in agricultural value chains: evidence from four countries in Asia and Africa," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 13(5), pages 1101-1124, October.
    2. Quisumbing, Agnes & Heckert, Jessica & Faas, Simone & Ramani, Gayathri & Raghunathan, Kalyani & Malapit, Hazel & The pro-WEAI for Market Inclusion Study Team, 2022. "IFAD Research Series 74: Women’s empowerment, food systems, and nutrition," IFAD Research Series 321953, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).


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