On “Food Talk with Dani Nierenberg,” Lawrence Haddad, Executive Director of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), talks about the urgency for nutrition advocacy in global food production. “There are thousands of choices when it comes to producing food—and thousands of outcomes that can result from that production—but only a small percentage of those outcomes are nutrition-promoting,” says Haddad.
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GAIN launched in 2002 to tackle global malnutrition. “We’re really trying to improve the consumption of nutritious food for everybody, especially the most vulnerable,” says Haddad. “And we’re trying to do that because food—what people eat—is one of the leading risk factors for the development of disease, no matter what country you’re in.”
“No country has a monopoly on the problem of malnutrition, so no country has a monopoly on the solution: we all have to work together,” says Haddad. “We’re trying to bring government and businesses together to find solutions in the food system to make these kinds of foods more available, affordable, and desirable.” According to Haddad, nutrition cannot be achieved solely by nongovernmental organizations and development assistance programs; governments exercising control over markets and regulation and businesses investing in the food sector can drive great changes toward worldwide nutrition. In 2018, Haddad received the World Food Prize for his research and advocacy, promoting child nutrition as an urgent priority across the world.
And, Haddad notes, improving nutrition isn’t limited to food supply outreach; rather, nutrition directly engages issues like food innovation, loss, and waste. “Most of the things that perish on their way to communities in need tend to be more nutritious and higher in micronutrients. So whatever can be done to stop food loss along the value chain, through cold storage or refrigeration, the better it is for nutrition,” says Haddad.
Photo courtesy of Thomas Reuters.