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Food systems approach for broader view on food security policy

Gepubliceerd op
26 juli 2018

In order to feed the growing world population, substantial growth in food production is required. However, more is needed than just increasing production: consumption patterns, the quality of food and the impact of food production on the environment are also important for a sustainable food supply. The food system approach provides an analytical framework for this broader view on food security policy.

The food system approach is receiving increasing attention in policy circles: FAO and IFPRI have published leading reports on this subject and in the Netherlands, too, this approach has recently received a great deal of attention. During the forthcoming SDG Conference, Wageningen Economic Research will facilitate a session on this food safety approach, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality and the Food & Business Knowledge Platform. This session explores the practical implications of this food system approach and for Dutch food security policy.

System analysis for better policies

A food system approach is a useful interdisciplinary conceptual framework for research and policy, aimed at sustainable solutions for sufficient supply of healthy food. This approach analyses the relationships between food system activities (production and consumption) and the results of those activities in the areas of food security, health, society and the environment. Such a system analysis can be of great benefit to policymakers, NGOs and agricultural organisations. For example, it provides insight into the role of the socio-economic context of the food system and shows where more efficient use of natural resources can be made. It also provides insight into feedback mechanisms in the system and possible trade-offs between intervention strategies.

Translation into practice

The workshop will look at the added value of the food system approach in practice, based on existing cases. Together with the participants, opportunities will be identified to further translate the concept of the food system into usable principles for food security policy. Representatives of the Ministry of LNV and Foreign Affairs will reflect on the contribution that the food system approach can make to the achievement of policy objectives and the follow-up steps required to apply this approach in policy.


This workshop is a joint initiative of Ruerd Ruben and Just Dengerink (WUR), Nicole Metz and Rojan Bolling (Food & Business Knowledge Platform), Geert Westenbrink (Ministry of LNV). Practical cases are provided by Nout van der Vaart (Hivos), Francesco Rampa (ECDPM), Floortje Jacobs (PPPLab/SNV), Ted Schrader and Judith Jacobs (WCDI). More background information can be found in the report 'The food systems approach: sustainable solutions for a sufficient supply of healthy food'.