Searching effective incentives for global food system transformation : farewell address

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Abstract

The focus in international debates on zero hunger (SDG2) and appropriate strategies for food and nutrition security (FNS) has gradually shifted from production-oriented approaches that mainly look at food availability and the contribution of smallholder farmers for guaranteeing sufficient food supply, to more demand-oriented strategies that focus on critical constraints for equitable access to nutrient-rich food and affordable diets for resource-poor consumers. This change in orientation is accompanied by (1) a shift in analytical paradigms that give priority to food system organisation and governance and interactions and strategies for overcoming trade-offs, and (2) a search for innovative approaches to improve the impact of policy incentives for reaching key societal goals, such as poverty reduction, climate change mitigation and social inclusiveness. This paper provides an overview of current insights regarding the effectiveness of different types of incentives for influencing the behaviour of key food system stakeholders: producers, traders, consumers and policy makers. We assess two major causes for frequently occurring policy failures: (1) lack of understanding of the underlying drivers and motives of stakeholder behaviour, and (2) limited insights in stakeholder interactions. Better understanding of food systems performance may enhance prospects for supporting food systems transformations. Disentangling our insights into the complex nature of producers and consumer decision-making processes and their non-linear responses to economic incentives, will enable us to outline possible pathways for future policy research around strategies for improving food system outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationDen Haag
PublisherWageningen Economic Research
Number of pages46
Publication statusPublished - 2020

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