Interest in the linkages between nutrition and agriculture from the late 1960s initially revolved around the opportunities for breeding grains of higher or better nutrient contents, mainly protein and amino acids. In the 1970s, that particular concern faded with the recognition that
protein quality in grains was not a limiting factor for human nutrition. In the wake of growing interest in nutrition planning at the time, the concept of “nutrition in agriculture” also matured. Community nutritionists today understand this concept as the interaction between the
broader sets of biological and societal processes that determine the optimal or suboptimal nutritional status of human beings. There is, however, a communication gap between nutritionists outside the laboratory and contemporary plant breeders for micronutrient content, which may risk reducing
the concept once again to “nutrients in agriculture.” The gap should be bridged in order to exploit all opportunities for linking up with broader thinking around food systems, health determinants outside the traditional health field, behaviour, culture, role analysis, power and
control over resources, and hence also potential conflicts of interest—at domestic as well as at higher levels of human organization. We lack a common framework to facilitate communication and systems thinking that would help extend technical considerations into policy formulations.
The paper describes recent efforts by the Norwegian Ministry of Agriculture to promote “whole-food-chain thinking,” where the interest of consumers will be explicitly in focus, including their participation in setting goals of agricultural policy to promote food and nutritional
Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.
The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.
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