While the pragmatic business way of addressing challenges proves helpful in the case of the Swedish interventions and many others, it still needs to be embedded in the food systems perspective. This was a point made repeatedly in the side events, particularly by FAO and by participants in the session led by GAFSP.
“We need to understand the actors, their benefits, their inputs, the conditions of the system, how these actors are making decisions and being affected by them, who’s bearing which risks. For example, the level of obesity in the world today shows that something is wrong somewhere in the food system”, argued Marcela Villareal, director of FAO’s division of Partnerships and South-South Cooperation.
A pilot initiative in Lake Naivasha, Kenya, is combining the food systems perspective with business solutions to support markets for indigenous vegetables. Amongst other areas, the Sustainable Agrifood Systems Strategies (SASS) project is investing in marketing to encourage people to buy indigenous vegetables. Labelling and certification through voluntary standards systems (e.g. utz, Rainforest and Fairtrade etc.) is helping to increase consumer awareness in local markets to the social, economic and environmental cyclic benefits of indigenous vegetables.