Scoping study on fruits and vegetables; results from Ethiopia

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An assessment of investment opportunities for the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
The world’s population is expected to increase by 2 billion persons in the next 30 years, from 7.7 billion currently to 9.7 billion in 2050. In spite of progress made in the past decades, the number of people being undernourished is on the increase again. Globally, 462 million are underweight, while 1.9 billion adults are overweight or obese. This contrast highlights well one of the most prominent global challenges imposed on our food systems, which is: how to make available, accessible and affordable healthy food to all.
Publication Date: 
Monday, May 23, 2022

To meet the growing demand for food and improved nutrition, food production and its nutritional value need to be enhanced. Compounding this issue is the pressure that existing agricultural systems place on the environment. Although there is scope to bring new land under cultivation, for example in Africa and Latin America, this has the knock-on effect of damaging the climate, biodiversity, natural habitats and more generally the integrity of the Earth’s environmental system. The challenge of achieving global food and nutrition security is underscored by Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture.” Fruits and vegetables play a key role in achieving above mentioned goals. This was acknowledged by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) and the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) which realised that more knowledge on the current state of fruit and vegetable consumption, trade, processing and production worldwide, and notably in low- and middle-income countries, is needed. For that purpose, Wageningen University & Research was contracted to conduct a global scoping study including deep dives into selected countries. After more than a year and a half of research, we are happy to present a number of research outputs that address comprehensively the state of art and main challenges associated with fruits and vegetables. The reports take us through all aspects of food systems in which fruits and vegetables play a role, from consumption to production, but also around the world, from Nigeria to Nepal. The study provides BMGF and FCDO with a clear set of recommendations as to priorities for philanthropical investments that have the goal of enhancing consumption of and economic benefits from fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables play a key role in meeting current and future food system challenges. With this research we know better where we are and what is needed to address these challenges. I hope our work contributes to setting in motion food system changes urgently needed.