About this Research Topic
Although African countries may produce or import enough food to provide adequate average energy per person per day, energy alone does not ensure nourished individuals. A lack of diversified diets year-round and high intakes of low cost, low nutrient, higher energy staple foods contribute to prevailing malnutrition in all its forms. Food distribution and access are unevenly distributed and gaps are widening even further. In many African countries, large proportions of the population rely on agriculture not only for their food, but also for their livelihoods. A transformed agricultural and food system is thus a necessary condition for addressing this double-triple challenge. To accomplish this, there is an urgent need for a far greater focus on food systems and how to make these deliver on the strategic goals of the African agriculture and food security agenda - namely economic opportunities, poverty alleviation and shared prosperity. This will require targeted approaches that ensure that innovation includes the role of indigenous African knowledge systems, protects biodiversity and embraces modern sciences as enabling factors for building a knowledge economy. There is a close linkage between food security and societal stability; however, global food security is threatened by the vulnerability of our agriculture and food systems including animal and plant health attributed to numerous pests, pathogens, and environmental stresses. These threats are aggravated by climate change, the globalization of agriculture, and an over-reliance on non-sustainable inputs.
Big data and smart-tech solutions are moving into agriculture and nutrition in a rapid manner, offering high potential for unprecedented innovation. The potential to harness 21st century technologies is regarded as a fundamental tool for change. The capacity to analyse and draw meaningful insights from big data through the lens of agriculture and food systems is an area in need of attention. A legal framework and ethical considerations is important to ensure the accountable and responsible use of big data and indigenous knowledge systems. Articles could include the application of science, innovation and policy in the advancement towards sustainable food systems. Research that intends to have an impact on food security and nutrition in Africa, needs to have an overarching vision to enable and catalyse the transformation of Africa’s agriculture and food systems.
We acknowledge the funding of the manuscripts published in this Research Topic by the University of Pretoria. We hereby state publicly that the University of Pretoria has had no editorial input in articles included in this Research Topic, thus ensuring that all aspects of this Research Topic are evaluated objectively, unbiased by any specific policy or opinion of the University of Pretoria.
Keywords: Nutrition, sustainable diets, policies and programmes, sustainable food systems, crops, herds
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