Urbanisation, increasing wealth, aggressive marketing by the food multi-nationals, adoption of what are seen as “progressive Western eating habits”, changing work patterns, women in the workforce - I could go on, but the diets of the developing nations are at a watershed. Now Director-General of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) José Graziano da Silva has called for integrated nutrition strategies to help countries deal with rapidly changing diets.
Well, I reckon he’ll be up against it, because big food companies see these regions as their new high-growth markets. However I’m heartened that da Silva appreciates and supports the need for and desirability of different crops for different regions and different diets for different communities. He indicates the need for individualised solutions that respect season, climate, soil, water and landforms.
Which begs the question, what would it take for communities around the world to revert to their traditional diets? When the world is one big melting pot, when the drift to the cities from rural communities is a global trend, I’d suggest that isn’t in the realm of possibility. However with the knowledge that we now have of the benefits of whole, unrefined, in season and non-processed, and the ill-effects of refined, sugar, salt and fat-laden, plain for all to see, “integrated nutrition strategies” are definitely called for. Let’s hope they make it off the FAO drawing board and into the developing communities around the world soon! And let's hope FAO start by enforcing the code for Marketing of Breastmilk Substitutes!