Repurposing agriculture support to improve nutrition, health, and the environment

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On 28th July 2021, the Global Panel and the World Bank co-hosted an affiliated session ‘Repurposing agriculture support to improve nutrition, health, and the environment’ at the United Nation’s Food Systems Pre-Summit which discussed the potential role realigning public agricultural support could play in promoting both human and planetary health. A recording of the session is below.

During the session, Dr Marco Springmann and Dr Madhur Gautam presented the latest science and evidence for realigning public agricultural support. The presentations were followed by a Panel discussion with Prof Patrick Webb, Dr Mandefro Nigussie, Dr Felix Asante and Dr Francesco Branca. Panel member Dr Shenggen Fan chaired the event.  

Dr Marco Springmann discussed modeling on how a variety of scenarios could impact production, consumption and the environment. It is clear from the discussion that moving towards plant-based diets would help address the health burden of food systems, but this will require significant changes in the production of staple foods such as legumes and grains. In order to encourage these changes, agricultural subsidies could be used to incentivise farmers. 

Dr Madhur Gautam from the World Bank Group focused more on the climate impacts of agriculture, reminding the audience that food systems are responsible for approximately a third of global green house gas emissions. Balancing the benefits of subsidies against their climate impacts is challenging and discussed within this session.