Contribution to Food and Nutrition Security

The development of the fruit and vegetable sector in developing countries has a positive impact on the Food and Nutrition Security (FNS) of the people engaged in the sector and for urban and rural consumers. This explorative study focused on the different FNS pillars for assessing the potential of horticultural sector:

  • Availability: fruit and vegetable (F&V) production has increased over the past 10-15 years, also in food-insecure countries such as Ethiopia, Rwanda, Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Indonesia and Vietnam. Different donor-funded projects have been implemented to increase production of fruit and vegetables. Some of these projects show positive impact in terms of increased production. However many other donor funded projects do not measure results in terms of FNS at outcome or impact level, resulting in limited empirical evidence on the impact of these projects.
  • Income from land, labour and capital is an important determinant that influences access to fruit and vegetables. Farmers: farmers that produce fruit and vegetables are increasing their income, especially compared to grains and other staple food crops.  Employment: the fruit and vegetable sector provides many job opportunities for male and female workers.  Consumers: increased levels of income have widely improved the access to fruit and vegetables for consumers. Female-headed households appear to spend more on fruit and particularly vegetables than male-headed households.
  • Food utilisation: overall consumption levels of fresh fruit and vegetable are still below the daily intake levels recommended by FAO and WHO. In addition, (agricultural) economic growth contributes to a reduction of undernourishment. Households with fruit and vegetable cultivation appear to have less nutrition-related health problems such as vitamin and micro-nutrient deficiencies. The nutrition and health benefits were particularly noticeable also among women.
  • Stability is an important pillar of Food Security. The production of fruit and vegetables requires access to appropriate inputs and technology. Necessary inputs and technology can bring the cultivation practices to a higher level whereby the (production and price) stability can be improved by reducing the risks of crop failure. There is evidence that vegetable producers are better integrated into markets contributing to a more stable market position.

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