There is currently much talk of the private sector role in nutrition, and whether the state can ‘shape’ the market to deliver better nutritional outcomes. This issue of the IDS Bulletin presents research findings in this area, developed by the consortium of research partners under the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) programme.
The IDS Bulletin aims to analyse existing (or potential) agri-food value chain pathways for delivering nutritious foods from agriculture to vulnerable populations in South Asia. It discusses the role of both public and private actors in making these value chains more effective in achieving sustained increased consumption of nutrient-rich foods.
In comparing the different pathways, this set of articles warns against the assumption that increasing the supply of certain products will directly lead to increased consumption. It highlights how, in South Asia, interventions or policies that try to enhance these pathways often struggle because of a mix of supply, distribution, marketing, and consumption challenges.
This IDS Bulletin argues that the key to sustainable food systems might be a ‘food sovereignty’ approach. This calls for awareness at all levels of decision-making – public, private and civil society – in the promotion of nutrition-sensitive value chains, emphasising the need for a stronger government role in shaping agri-food value chain pathways. By looking at the limits of what business can and cannot achieve in a given market environment, the IDS Bulletin provides insights to policymakers about how to create an appropriate institutional environment that shapes how these value chains operate for the benefit of nutritionally vulnerable target groups.
Photo credit: Nigel Poole.