540 | IAASTD Global Report

For AKST for environmental services to have adequate levels of funding and for the funding to be sustainable, con­sumers and environmental groups must have a role in the governance of the research system
. Options for societies aiming to give major support to improving nutrition and human health
As in the case of the environmental sustainability, this area of AKST investment can adopt several different but comple­mentary goals: to reduce the negative documented impact of agriculture on health and to develop policies and tech­nologies aiming to improve the nutritional and health status of population. The key areas of AKST investment could be in improved quantity and nutritional quality of culturally appropriate food to the poor, safer management or reduc­tion in use of pesticides and research to improve food safety. This is another area for which evidence is lacking and where investments are needed to obtain data on the size of the problem and the potential of AKST to solve it.
        AKST has positive and negative effects on human health (see 8.2.6). Increased plant and animal productivity have reduced prices of these food products and often reduced undernutrition of the poor and led to more balanced diets. At the same time, increased productivity has led to environ­mental pollution (of water and air) and overuse of antibi­otics and pesticides (including toxic residues in plants and animals and resistance to antibiotics) have lead to serious health impacts. Additionally, problems of growing obesity in industrialized and developing countries are also indirectly linked to AKST.
         The evidence on negative impacts suggests that one area of major AKST investment needs to be on improved pes­ticide management and the reduction in use of dangerous pesticides and antibiotics (see 8.2.6). In particular invest­ments in IPM and substituting less dangerous chemicals or biopesticides for dangerous pesticides appear to be impor­tant investments. Farming systems which improve produc­tivity while using little or no pesticide, chemical fertilizer and antibiotics need to be studied and developed in order to improve their management and increase their potential to feed the local population. Organic agriculture is one type of farming system that reduces pesticide use and has a growing demand, so investments in research to increase the productivity and resilience of organic agriculture would be appropriate.           AKST investment to develop and implement schemes for food safety and quality standards to improve public health and consumer confidence is a major area in the health port­folio. In addition, investments to increase the nutritional values of crops and livestock products with the objective of improving the nutritional status of global population, such as biofortification, need more emphasis in plant breeding research. Biofortification is one of the few areas where there have been careful studies both of the size of the health prob­lem and that AKST investments can reduce these problems (see 8.2.6).          Farming system diversification can also improve nutri­tion. The expansion of vegetable and fruit tree cultivation on farms can have a significant effect on the quality of child nutrition. Many indigenous fruits, nuts and vegetables are highly nutritious (Leakey, 1999). The consumption of some


traditional foods can also help to boost immune systems, making these foods beneficial against diseases, including HIV-AIDS (Barany et al., 2003; Villarreal et al., 2006). If countries neglect investments to improve the farming sys­tems of both subsistence and commercial farmers, major health problems would increase.
          Reduction  of nutritional  imbalances  would  require research on educational programs and policy mechanisms to provide appropriate incentives for facilitating the access to healthier products and healthier consumption patterns while penalizing in the market those products leading to nu­tritional problems, for example, through the internalization in the final price of the products the health costs calculated by means of AKST. Still, more AKST from social sciences is needed in order to find and develop the best policy strategies to avoid malnutrition. The AKST investments to continue the reduction in the numbers of the undernourished through productivity increasing research or better distributional or commercialization strategies of food are described in more detail below in the section on poverty. Options for societies aiming to give major support to hunger and poverty reduction
These societies will need to target investments in research, policy and institutional change in organizations that pro­vide research to produce public goods. These include public research, extension and education programs as well as the international research centers of the CGIAR.         AKST investments can increase the productivity of ma­jor subsistence crops such as rice, wheat, and other basic staples that are grown and/or consumed by the poor (see while respecting the culture and livelihoods of those who produce the food. Investment can also be allocated to the productivity-increasing research in regions where the poor are located, such as rain-fed and marginal areas, even if these are not the areas which would increase total Agri­cultural GDP the most. Also, investments to preserve biodi­versity and traditional systems that maintain the livelihoods of millions of people are required in order to increase the wealth of poor populations in many countries. For example, research on animal genetic resources conservation programs could be directed to increase drought resistance or disease resistance of local domestic breeds. This implies appropri­ate technologies that do not destroy the environment while at the same time aims to improve the existing local knowl­edge of traditional farming systems towards the needs of the farmers.          Research for the poor should aim to develop and main­tain crop and animal production techniques that allow extending the assets controlled by the poor such as labor, management skills, or biodiversity with assets owned by the wealthy, such as land.
         Investments in institutional change and policies which improve the access of the poor to food, education, land, water, seeds, markets and improved technology for produc­ing food, better access to jobs, and more influence on the governance of research systems are a major need for reduc­ing poverty (see 8.3.4). The investments in improved institu­tions might include AKST programs that support small scale agricultural and food industry innovators and public private partnership with the aim to (1) encourage adaptation and