Food and nutrition security

© GIZ/Joerg Boethling

To ensure food and nutrition security for the world's growing population and effectively combat all forms of malnutrition, the GIZ combines measures from different sectors and addresses all dimensions of food and nutrition security: availability, access, use, recovery and stability.

Food and nutrition security is one of the greatest global challenges. Although the global share of hungry people in the total population has been halved since 1990, the global number of hungry people rose again for the first time in 2017. 815 million people worldwide are suffering from hunger. At the same time, the number of over-nourished people is growing. Both malnutrition and overeating are often accompanied by a lack of vital vitamins and minerals.

The causes of nutritional problems are manifold:

  • Resources (water, soil, biodiversity) are scarce and pressure is increasing from population growth, climate change and conflict.
  • Agricultural land is not properly managed.
  • Too much food spoils after harvesting, for example because it cannot be stored or cooled properly.
  • Many people are too poor to buy quality food.
  • Diseases as well as poor water, sanitation and health care prevent people from consuming food properly.
  • There is a lack of knowledge about varied and hygienic food preparation.
  • Traditional nutrition patterns are changing. Meat consumption is increasing, as is the consumption of energy-rich and often highly processed foods.
  • Women are often less educated and have too little influence on household and political decisions. Fragile contexts, conflicts and catastrophes make the framework conditions more difficult.

Malnutrition in early life - especially in the first 1000 days from conception to the age of two of a child's life - has far-reaching consequences for those affected and for the economy as a whole. These include delays in growth and development, lower wages and reduced production capacity, and an increased risk of diet-related chronic diseases in adulthood. GIZ supports the fight against malnutrition at all levels and in different sectors. Through its measures, it aims to make food available in sufficient quantity and quality and to achieve a stable supply. It is also committed to better use and consumption of food. GIZ responds to acute food crises with short and medium-term operations. Long-term measures focus on a varied and safe diet.

These are GIZ's priorities in the field of food and nutrition security:

  • It promotes improved agricultural practices.
  • It supports the production and marketing of high-quality food along agricultural value chains.
  • It takes measures to reduce post-harvest losses and reduce fungal infestation.
  • It informs people in its partner countries about how they prepare food in a varied and hygienic way and is committed to better water, sanitation and health care.
  • It is particularly committed to improving the nutrition of infants and toddlers, because in the first 1,000 days of life, malnutrition predominantly leads to irreversible damage.
  • In conflict and crisis regions, it strengthens people's resilience through crisis management strategies.
  • It promotes sustainability through the protection of livelihoods and natural resources.