Unhealthy eating habits within global food culture has become a growing concern, primarily because of the detrimental effects that they have on human health and the environment. The current globalised food system is built to increase productivity and supply levels but with little regards to nutrition. Modern supply chains allow big corporations to capitalise on unhealthy consumption patterns by making processed food readily available and affordable to everyone. Consequently, more people are suffering from micronutrient diseases. These processors are not sustainable in the long-run for our health, and neither are they benefitting the farmers and the rural economy. What would it take to rebuild the system to be more nutritionally orientated?
Globally, a staggering 70% of small-scale producers provide the world with food, yet they are not benefitting from the current system. In fact, farmers and MSMEs are not succeeding in the globalised economy because they are unable to compete with global and national corporations that dominate the food value chains. This means that both parties often suffer from extreme poverty and spiralling debt.
In the Philippines, the distance between farm and fork is far greater, and so is the number of links working throughout the food chain. Farmers and consumers are no longer engaging with one another, creating a disconnect between the consumers and the food they eat. Alternative supply chains can reconnect farmers back with consumers by shortening the number of actors within the chain. In addition, this change can provide farmers with a greater share of wealth. But is it possible to eradicate the middlemen altogether?
Core changes to conventional supply chains are required to ensure that nutrient-dense and sustainably-grown foods are available, affordable and preferable for everyone, whilst properly supporting the food growers and producers. Undoubtedly, food systems must transform in a way that nutrition takes priority.
As IISLA maps out the key actors throughout the value chain in the Philippines, we seek to enhance our understanding of the stakeholders involved in the intricate system that supplies us with food. By analysing the evolution of value throughout the chain, it is possible to highlight prominent issues and thus provide the right interventions for a more equitable future.