Well-functioning food systems are essential to ensure that people do not suffer from malnutrition. Today, malnutrition is visible both in form of undernutrition (including hunger and inadequate nutrition) and overnutrition (including overweight and obesity).
Among many institutions, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) advocate improving the functioning of food systems in order to provide sufficient, safe, high quality and accessible food for all people. However, the increased occurrence of shocks (unexpected disturbances) is making it increasingly difficult in all parts of the world to provide food and nutrition security for everyone and at all times.
A shock – for example, in the form of a bad harvest that is caused by a plant disease – not only directly impacts the affected farmers, but also leads to indirect consequences for all the actors involved (e.g., input suppliers, processors, retailers, and consumers) who are associated with the affected crop. In other words, a shock creates challenges which affect the proper functioning of many elements of a food system. Hence, food systems must be resilient and able to anticipate and respond in a timely manner to shocks in order to minimize the negative impacts on outcomes such as food and nutrition security, environmental quality and social well-being.
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