Exploring the effectiveness of a rapid participatory method in mapping the role of agricultural biodiversity in local food systems to identify potential entry points to improve peoples' capabilities to be nutrition secure | Land Portal

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Date of publication: 
December 2016
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Vietnam has improved its food security situation at the price of losing traditional varieties adapted to local tastes and conditions due to increased production and use of high-yield crop varieties (mainly large scale mono-cropping). Decreased diversity of foods is a growing issue, and the existence of malnutrition in regions where staple crop production and food availability are sufficient highlights the necessity for a multidisciplinary approach to design interventions that target the four dimensions of food security - availability, access, stability and utilisation, of a diverse group of locally available nutritious foods.

This paper demonstrates the use of the Four Cell Approach to participatory research to rapidly identify trends in a) species and food usage in a landscape and b) the dynamics of the food system which may contribute to, or be leveraged to improve, peoples' capabilities to be nutrition secure. In the case of Son La Province, Vietnam, explored in this paper, it is possible to conclude a positive relationship between increased production diversity and dietary diversity, and highlight the importance of markets for diffusion of diverse foods. Diversification of species production and consumption has a positive effect on resilience during the off-season, and diversification of coping mechanisms utilised by communities can build resilience for future shocks. Food-based approaches that promote diversified production and consumption of locally available nutritious foods that local people value, while ensuring access to markets, have the potential to improve capabilities of local people to provide nutritious foods for themselves and their communities while improving resilience to be food and nutrition secure at all times

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Ahern, M.
Raneri, J.
De Muro, P.
Kennedy, G.
Università Degli Studi Roma Tre

Corporate Author(s): 

Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. We have a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet.

We deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural and tree biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security.

We work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural and tree biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation.

Ghent University is a top 100 university and one of the major universities in Belgium. Our 11 faculties offer a wide range of courses and conduct in-depth research within a wide range of scientific domains.


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CGIAR is the only worldwide partnership addressing agricultural research for development, whose work contributes to the global effort to tackle poverty, hunger and major nutrition imbalances, and environmental degradation.

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