LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – With poor diet now topping smoking as a health hazard, the world must put good nutrition over empty calories, especially in emerging Asian economies, according to the winner of a prestigious global prize dubbed the ‘Nobel for food’.
Seed breeder Simon Groot – an octogenarian whose family has cultivated seeds for hundreds of years – said the world must tackle malnutrition by boosting vegetable and crop varieties.
This was particularly pertinent in Asia, he said, as it was growing in wealth and its people were increasingly opting for starchy, high-calorie rice and meat over nutritious vegetables.
Poor diet has overtaken smoking as the world’s biggest killer, according to the latest Global Burden of Disease study, causing 20 percent of deaths globally in 2017.
Millions of smallholders in Asia miss out on new, resilient seeds that could improve yields in the face of climate change, according to the Netherlands-based Access to Seeds Foundation.