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Publication | 2023

Food, Nature and Health Transitions − Repeatable Country Models

Studying successful country-level food systems transformations, this report identifies repeatable actions, investments, and collaborations that can accelerate the transition to more resilient, inclusive, sustainable, and healthy food systems.

High-performing food systems provide healthy and nutritious diets. They create dignified livelihoods for producers and benefit the economy. They mitigate and adapt to climate change, and safeguard nature and biodiversity. Today our food systems fall far short of these goals.

Food systems are highly interdependent and involve a broad set of stakeholders. To meet these goals, countries at national level must be the locus of transformation.

At a high level, the transformation pathways and effective levers are well known. They include climate-smart and nature-positive food and agricultural practices, changing how and what we consume, and collaborating across public and private sectors, among others.

To show how these levers can accelerate the pace and scale of change, this report defined a set of key food systems outcomes (for which authoritative data is available across most countries) and selected seven "early mover" countries whose performance has been comparatively strong and whose examples and lessons are widely relevant. Their stories of transformation identify common, repeatable elements, including the most critical actions and investments for creating large-scale change and how they should be coordinated.

Collectively, these success stories can inform faster, more holistic, country-led transitions to better food systems.

Chapter 2 looks at food systems transformations in Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and Ghana. Ethiopia’s example, which began as an agricultural transformation, illustrates how developing countries can take a systematic approach to evolving their food systems and strengthening their transformation capacity, through targeted public investment, enabling policies and institutional innovation. The transformation successes of strategic sectors in India, Vietnam and Ghana show how countries can evolve their food systems to improve a broad set of outcomes, by unlocking the potential of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), particularly those that are farmer-allied and operating in local food chains.

Chapter 3 looks at how countries are using innovation to improve outcomes in productivity, sustainability and nutrition. For example, Algeria has improved food security in the face of significant constraints on water availability, while Vietnam has sustainably intensified its rice production.