Publications

Going Bananas: A Food Systems Approach

Brazao Vieira Alho, C.F.; Hendriks, C.M.J.; Stoorvogel, J.J.; Vellema, S.; Smaling, Eric

Summary

The holistic concept of Food Systems (FS) has emerged as an attempt to tackle the multiple challenges regarding provision of sustainable and healthy diets for a growing population as described in e.g., the sustainable development goals. In this report, we focus on one commodity (bananas) in two contrasting cases: one focused on the banana export system in Costa Rica (CR) (including its exports to the Netherlands (NL)) and another on domestic supply and consumption in Uganda (UG). Here, we followed three conceptual frameworks of FS currently used in the literature. Furthermore, power relations between civil society, private sector and governmental agencies are also taken into consideration. We hypothesized that analysing the functioning of a particular commodity in a FS context adds value, compared to the more linear value chain approach, and will lead to better-informed policy, socio-economic and investment decisions. Our approach sheds light on some parts of the FS concepts that still need a more profound analysis. If we look at the differences in the presented FS frameworks, we think it is wise to look at building blocks as was done in this report, rather than trying to tackle the entire, complex system as a whole.