A study published in Global Food Securityreported that vegetables have untapped not just nutritional, but also economic benefits. According to the authors, with proper research and development, vegetables can be crucial to securing worldwide food security.
Vegetables are an affordable source of vitamins and minerals necessary for overall health, but their economic and nutritional power have yet to be fully realized.
The researchers believe that vegetables can be used to guarantee food and nutrition security, as well as a promising economic opportunity that can help minimize rural poverty and unemployment in developing countries. Additionally, vegetable production is an important factor for farm diversification strategies.
The authors noted that to maximize the economic power of vegetables, governments must invest more in farm productivity (e.g., safer chemical pesticide alternatives, improved varieties, and the use of protected cultivation), efficient post-harvest management, food safety, and market access.
To take full advantage of the nutritional power of vegetables, consumers must first understand how vegetables boost overall health. Consumers also need access to affordable vegetables or they can learn how to cultivate vegetables themselves.
To nurture vegetable consumption, world leaders must actively lobby for a combination of supply-side interventions and behavioral change communication that focuses on the importance of consuming vegetables regularly for proper nutrition and health.
The researchers added that to make the most out of the economic and nutritional power of vegetables, governments and donors must first give vegetables greater priority than they currently receive.
By investing in research and development for vegetables, governments will eventually be able to provide increased economic opportunities for smallholder farmers and give everyone access to healthier diets.
The researchers believe that by allocating more resources for research concerning vegetable farming, the public will have access to nutritious food and a reliable source of income.