The ‘food-system divide’ – which is rarely talked about, let alone challenged – is one of the biggest hindrances to achieving a healthy population and sustainable and viable agricultural systems in developing countries. For decades, the majority of investments, whether on R&D, or big company investment, or policy support, or product development or even development aid, have been funnelled into just three major crops: rice, wheat and maize. These ‘Big 3’ crops provide 50% of the world’s calories and protein. As a result, their value chains are well developed and supported, making it very difficult to ‘mainstream’ other foods. The need for greater diversity in diets and on-farm is well known. Meeting that need will require mainstreaming and ensuring the viability of more foods. This should not be tackled with just any food but with food that is ‘good for you (nutritious and healthy), good for the planet (environmentally sustainable) and good for the farmer (viable and climate smart)’; that is our definition of Smart Food. The Smart Food initiative aims to learn from the successes of the ‘Big 3’ and create the ‘Big 5’ and eventually the ‘Big 7’, and so on. Smart Food will focus especially on foods that can be eaten as staples. This way, we will have a major impact on some of the leading global issues. As Smart Food is good for you and the planet and the farmer, these three qualities can in unison contribute to healthy people and sustainable and viable agriculture.

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