Federal Office for Agriculture and Food

Model farmer and his family in their home garden where shade trees, fruit trees, coffee and vegetables grow on various levels. World Food Day 2017: research to prevent malnutrition Model farmer and his family in their home garden where shade trees, fruit trees, coffee and vegetables grow on various levels. Source: Edossa Etissa

World Food Day 2017: research to prevent malnutrition

About two billion people worldwide suffer from undernourishment or malnutrition due to a lack of vitamins and mineral deficiencies. To address these problems and to improve food supplies, the Federal Ministry of Food (BMEL) is funding international joint research ventures.

The Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE), as a manager of these international research co-operations, presents, on the occasion of World Food Day on October 16, two projects.

The international research cooperation "Scaling up Nutrition: possible applications of a nutrition-sensitive and diversified agriculture for improved food security", aims at improving the food situation of people in Tanzania. In cooperation with the Tanzanian Ministry for Agriculture, Food Security and Cooperatives, researchers at the German Leibniz-Zentrum für Agrarlandforschung (ZALF) e.V., at Hohenheim University and at Sokoine University for Agriculture in Tanzania, jointly developed so-called kitchen gardens in Tanzania with communities affected by under- and malnutrition. The aim is to optimise the food and nutrient supply in individual families.

The community built rainwater storage tanks to guarantee a sustainable irrigation of school gardens and thus contribute to a regular and balanced food intake of the community’s school children. Educational campaigns launched at the schools also reach the children’s families.

A balanced diet based on fruit and vegetables

Within the international research project "Fruit and Vegetables in Multi-Level Production Systems: Diversifying Agriculture for Balanced Diets", coordinated by the Zentrum für Entwicklungsforschung (Centre for Development Research) at Bonn University, a total of twelve German, Ethiopian, and Madagascan research and development organisations work on the production of fruits and vegetables in multi-level production systems. The aim is to improve the local population’s vitamin and nutrient intake and to diversify local agricultural production using a participatory approach.

A total of 28 master’s degree students identify answers to various research questions, including consumer behaviour, in the project. During joint cooking lessons, women and men smallholder farmers prepared new dishes, tasted and evaluated the leafy vegetables, cultivated by them in the project. The recipes were translated into the local language, Afaan Oromoo (Oromiff).

Background information

Compared with countries in Latin America and Asia, micro-nutrient deficiencies are very high on the African continent – especially affected are the poor population sections in sub-Saharan Africa.

At the same time, steadily growing middle classes change their eating habits. The growing consumption of processed foods leads to increasing numbers of people being overweight and obese in both urban and rural areas. Diet-induced illnesses are on the rise worldwide. A growing number of overweight people constitutes a huge burden for the health sectors of the countries concerned.

With these projects, and in line with the German sustainability strategy, the BLE, on behalf of the BMEL, supports the sustainable development goal 2 to end hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition. Click here for details on the projects presented.

Date of issue: 2017.10.13