ICCO Cooperation is one of the initiators of the AgriProFocus manifest to call the next Dutch cabinet to cooperate with the private sector, civil society partners and knowledge institutions to work towards a sustainable food system in the Netherlands and worldwide.
Since the elections in March 2017 Dutch parties try to form a new cabinet. Members of AgriProFocus take this opportunity to put the issue of food and nutrition security on the negotiation table and present the manifest ‘Invest in Food transition’. The idea is that with united forces, the Netherlands can be in 2022 the international leader in sustainable food systems.
A transition to a sustainable global food system asks for a policy agenda that contains six principles, the manifest explains: entrepreneurship,climate resistant and environmental friendly agriculture, strong value chains for farmers and small enterprises, healthy and nutritious diets, less food waste and effective public private partnerships.
Top priorities ICCO
Inclusive and sustainable food systems in the South is one of ICCO’s top priorities. In that, we work intensively with local public and especially private actors. From experience, we know that smallholder farmers and especially women play a crucial role in local food systems. Through organizations of farmers we support production improvement, processing, storage, marketing, preparation and consumption.
More food productivity doesn’t automatically mean nutritional improvement
Practice has taught us that more productivity as such does not automatically lead to nutritional improvement at household and individual levels. Therefore, we combine interventions towards production and income raising with a focus on nutritional information and in some cases supply of healthy foods and supplements. In the Profitable Opportunities for Food Security (PROOFS) program in Bangladesh - funded by the Dutch Embassy - this happens on a commercial basis through so-called 'nutrition sales agents'. The programme works towards a sustainable business case for these agents, who combine nutrition messaging with social marketing and sales of specific products. At the same time the programme monitors the effects on the nutrition situation of targeted household and individuals.
Careful and timely monitoring can determine which interventions contribute to a lasting improvement. In terms of household-level impact, we are basically referring to the so-called 'progress out of poverty' index, and the 'household food insecurity access scale'. On an individual level, we look at, among other things, the diet diversity score as a measure of quality of nutrition, as well as gender relationships and the level of women empowerment. This is an important measure of general welfare.
Careful monitoring is required
In Bangladesh and other countries ICCO and its partners work to realize healthy, sustainable and sufficient food for everyone. A transition to better food systems takes time, requires careful monitoring but is achievable. ICCO hopes the new Dutch government continues to be a frontrunner and propagates the manifest in European and international circles.
Go to the manifest on the AgriProFocus Website (Dutch)