What makes a sustainable diet? And who decides? full transcript
Host [00:00:01]: You are listening to the Make Change Happen podcast series from the International Institute for Environment and Development, IIED.
We are producing more food than ever, but for citizens across the world now and in the future, food security is further and further away. To counter this, an advocacy program called Sustainable Diets for All is asking, how can we create food systems that are more sustainable, healthier and fair?
IIED and Dutch development aid organisation Hivos are working together with local partners to support civil society organisations fighting for diverse food production and better, affordable diets for everybody.
Joining us today to discuss their work, we have two researchers from the Sustainable Diets for All programme and some of their in-country colleagues.
Liz Carlile [00:00:53] Hello and welcome to Make Change Happen, IIED’s new podcast. I'm Liz Carlile, I'm director of communications and your host today, and we're going to be looking at Sustainable Diets for All.
And I have two colleagues with me here in the room. On my left is Alejandro Guarin, and you are a senior researcher at IIED. And Alejandro, it says that you are leading on our agro-food systems work. What does that mean? Can you tell our listeners what that means in an easy language?
Alejandro Guarin [00:01:28] Hi Liz, of course. It means I'm looking at all things food-related – from production, farming to processing, transport, trade, consumption. So that's what we call food systems or agro-food systems.
Liz Carlile [00:01:42] Brilliant. And I think you've had quite a long history in that work? And my understanding is that before you joined us, you were at the German Development Institute in Bonn, DIE.
Alejandro Guarin [00:01:53] That’s right.
Liz Carlile [00:01:53] And I think you've done consultancies with FAO and local governments in your home country of Colombia?
Alejandro Guarin [00:02:00] That’s right.
Liz Carlile [00:02:01] Great. On my right, I'm joined by Costanza de Toma, and Costanza works with us here in IIED as well, but has been in international development for many years, a trained social anthropologist and I think your focus, and certainly with us, your focus has been on advocacy.
Costanza de Toma [00:02:20] Yes.
Liz Carlile [00:02:20] And helping our partners developer an advocacy programme on this particular project.
But I also know, I think, that you have some sort of foodie history in your family. Do you want to say a couple of words about that?
Costanza de Toma [00:02:34] Yes. Hello, Liz. Yes, yes, of course. I was just reflecting on that earlier today. In my family history, I can trace back to my grandparents – both sets of grandparents, actually – one migrated from the south to the north of Italy, and they opened a wine and food shop in the north of Italy in Lecco, where my grandmother used to cook for over 100 factory workers every day.
And my other set of grandparents opened a coffee shop in Milan where they ground and toasted and served coffee to travellers, because the shop was near the central station train station in Milan.
Liz Carlile [00:03:16] So food, big tradition in your family. And we'll be hearing a little bit more about the importance of tradition and culture.
Costanza de Toma [00:03:23] Yes, yes.
Liz Carlile [00:03:30] We will be joined throughout the programme from three of our partners in Bolivia, in Kenya and in Zambia. They will be on Skype, but we’ll look forward to introducing them into the conversation.
And we're going to focus today on sustainable diets. And I think the big question is what is ‘for all’? What does Sustainable Diets for All mean to us in IIED, and what's the work we're going to do?
And thinking about how the SDG goal, too, says that by 2030 we want to end hunger and ensure access for all – especially the poorest – to safe, nutritious and sufficient food all year round. I think for IIED and our determination that the poorest group should not be compromised, that's quite a big issue.
So what does this mean for us, Alejandro?
Alejandro Guarin [00:04:23] Let's break it down. So, Sustainable Diets for All is the name of a big project we have. It's funded by the Dutch government, but it really encapsulates this idea of... that's really important, about how do we make diets and what we eat more sustainable? And how do we make that available to everybody? That's in a nutshell.
But let's break it down a little bit. What does ‘sustainable diets’ actually mean? And I think at the core, it's two very simple things. It's diets that are good for planet and good for people – that are nutritious, that are safe, that are… that have all the nutrients and all the characteristics that people need to be healthy. But that at the same time in producing it, that it doesn't destroy the planet, and that it preserves our ecosystems, water, biodiversity.
So that's what the sustainable diets means. It's relatively simple. It’s really hard to actually achieve, but it's really, really simple.
And then the ‘for all’ bit, which is a bit of a twist that we have on that is, ‘Okay, right, we know what's healthy for planet or for people, but it's relatively easy to achieve if you're wealthy living in the UK, because you can buy nice organic vegetables that are really sustainably produced and that they're really good for you. But what does that mean for, say, the poor people in Uganda or working people in Bolivia? That's… it might be different, and it actually is different.
And so the ‘for all’ bit is a really interesting bit for us about what that relatively straightforward thing of sustainable diets actually mean[s] for all.
Liz Carlile [00:05:58] So I think what's interesting to me is that that raises these issues around, sort of, you've got your health that you hope to keep healthy; you've got this problem of sustainability; you've got perhaps the challenge of diversity – you know, for many people where diets are difficult, they need a diverse diet to keep healthy.
So I can see that we're wrapped up in difficult, complex choices around access, around culture, around questions of choice. So, Costanza, tell us a little bit – I know we were talking earlier before we started – around this question of sort of choice and culture.
Costanza de Toma [00:06:38] Of course, what Alejandro was saying is very important, because we've worked on the Sustainable Diets for All programme for a few years now, and it's been a journey for us as well as for our partners in the five different countries that we've been working in. So we've worked in Uganda, Bolivia, Indonesia, Zambia and Kenya.
And I think we've understood that that sustainable diets means something different in every context. And because we've not only taken a food systems approach in our programming work, but also we've tried to take a bottom-up, citizen-driven approach in the programme.
We've tried to listen to citizen voices about the food system. We've tried to listen to producers, to marketers, to the people who cook the food as well as to the consumers who eat the food.
And I think we've busted a few myths along the way, and we've also come across a few hard truths along the way, which have questioned our own beliefs, and preconceptions, and assumptions on what sustainable diets are – particularly on the ‘for all’ element, as Alejandro was saying.
So the importance of access in terms of where do low-income families get their food? Is that food of sufficient quality enough to make their diets healthy, to make their diet sustainable? And what is the relationship between what people eat, what people choose to eat – forgetting access for a moment here – what they choose to eat and their identity?
And we've realised, I mean, it might come as no surprise to many people, that there's a very, very strong link between food and identity and cultural identity.
And part of what we've worked on in the programme has been revaluing traditional indigenous foods. And looking at the nutritional value of these foods, and why, if they're so good for people's health, why have they been sidelined in terms of production?
We've been working in Zambia, for instance, looking at why is production so focused on maize, for instance, in Zambia? And a lot of the healthy crops have been sidelined along the years. Or why have diets changed so radically and in many different countries from Indonesia to Uganda to Bolivia, and why are people eating more unhealthy foods, rich in sugar, starch, carbohydrates, leaving aside local, maybe sometimes healthier foods?
Liz Carlile [00:09:39] So that's where we get this concern, I think, particularly a concern at World Food Day this year in October, that was really showing the difference between, we have 800 million people who can go hungry every day, but we also have 1.2 billion people who are overweight and becoming obese.
So I think what you're showing is we've got this polarisation. So we've got health and choice for poorer people, and then unhealthy foods consumed by people, which are processed foods in more formal markets, that kind of thing.
I wonder, might be nice to hear from Vladimir Garcia from Bolivia. He was saying something that in his project was very much about the culture of choice.
Vladimir Garcia [00:10:26] So, hi, my name is Vladimir Garcia, and I've been working on the project with the informal food vendors and food markets here in Bolivia. I'm a sociologist and I've been working on this project for the past year and a half.
So in regards to the question, I think something rewarding about this project is that, well, working on this topic, I read somewhere that in Thai, I think, when you don't like something, you don't say, ‘I don't like this food’ or ‘It is bad’, so you actually say, ‘I don't know how to eat this’. And I think that was such an important framework on this project in regard to how you approach food. Because it shows you're willing to open to new experiences, and to sense new flavours and aromas, and to learn to appreciate meals and foods that you are not familiar with.
So popular market diners here in Bolivia are places we're working class people and low-income workers go get their foods on a weekly basis, as we found in our research, and they do heavily depend on these spaces.
So I think that many Bolivians do not really have the chance to visit popular market diners as often as we would like. The country has sort of experienced a boom of restaurants and coffee places and food places, but in that sense market diners have remained sort of invisible in the food scenes, even though they play an important role in feeding people.
So I think we're missing out on amazing food and a variety of meals that many of us have not tasted yet. And it was rewarding in that sense to learn to really appreciate Bolivian cuisine.
Alejandro Guarin [00:12:18] Let me maybe for the benefit of our listeners, Vladimir is referring to something called market diners. Let me give you a kind of sense of what that is, because it's material to the whole Sustainable Diets for All thing.
He's referring to... in La Paz and in other Latin American countries, food markets, basically open markets, where people go to buy their vegetables and fruits and meat and all sorts of things. They have people cooking and so you can go and buy cooked stuff to eat.
So he's talking about... this is a fixture of the Bolivian landscape. These big kitchens, basically, open kitchens where people – working class people mostly – come in at lunchtime, or for breakfast, they come in and they buy their lunch or their food, but it's cooked.
And what he's saying, what Vladimir is saying, he’s saying, well, there's two really important things that this is doing. One is it's providing key food access for working people. So this is not a kind of hobby type of thing, it's crucial for the feeding of the city.
But also, in addition to that, they're reservoirs of culture and traditional knowledge about food. So in a way they're also bastions against this Westernisation of diet.
So there's these two things going on at the same time where they're providing food for the working people, but they're also, in a way, the frontline of the resistance against highly processed food. So they're also keeping almost vigilant of the traditional cooking of Bolivia.
Liz Carlile [00:14:09] So I think that leads us quite nicely, doesn't it, to the relationship between informal markets, or the informal setting, and kind of the food system that we need to make access and choice available to the poorest communities.
And I think your expertise, Alejandro, is very much around how these informal markets work and why they're important. And I think maybe could you tell our listeners the difference between the informal and the formal? Because I know that our colleague from Kenya will give us a very nice example about that difference, but it might be helpful to share your thinking on that.
Alejandro Guarin [00:14:50] Yeah, it's very simple. So for our listeners in the UK and other parts of, let's say, Europe or the United States, when we think of what the food market looks like, we usually think of supermarkets. That's where we buy our food and that's our main source of food, is a supermarket, basically your decisions every day are which supermarket to go to. But these are the main sources of food, and that's because supermarkets, most of the food production and distribution is organised around supermarkets.
In developing countries that's not the case. Supermarkets are a very small portion of the big food system.
So what does it actually look like? Well, it's actually small scale. It's small scale in production, so it's small-scale farming, producing very small amounts of food. Then it's small scale in retail, so it's all sorts of corner stores and open-air markets. So food is produced and sold in very, very small scale.
The people who work in these food systems, it's usually... they don't hire anybody, so it's family based, you know? So it'll be like the mother will be tending the stall, and then maybe the cousins might be bringing in the food from the countryside, and then the brother is the one distributing it, for example. So it's cash-based, there is no contracts, nothing is written, it's all verbal, it's based on loyalty.
And so this is a very rich and dynamic system that is really feeding most of the world right now. And it's a little bit churning in the background and not really in the radar of people, but it's just feeding most of the world right now.
So that's what we mean by the informal market.
Liz Carlile [00:16:39] And there's a tendency, isn't there, for, I suppose, governments or local governments to want to make things more formal. They want to draw those small businesses into a more formal setting? But I think what we're saying is that that informality provides a rich culture and a rich opportunity for people.
Alejandro Guarin [00:17:01] Exactly. Government doesn't like it. It doesn't fit their idea of what a modern food system needs to be.
Costanza de Toma [00:17:09] Yes, I think what strikes me from what Vladimir was saying as well is that these markets are very often invisible, and they're invisible for a choice. They're deliberately invisible because most of them operate under the radar precisely because governments have been so anti-informal markets, and because they've either been swept away when there's been outbreaks of cholera, for instance – recently, only recently in Lusaka, for instance – or simply because they're unsightly and considered to be unhealthy.
So one of the myths actually that I think we've contributed to busting as Sustainable Diets for All, has been that the food that these markets provide is unhealthy. Because that is very often not the case. And these markets not only are the source of food for the majority of the poor – particularly the urban poor, of course, we're referring to mostly – but also they provide a healthy variety of foods for these people, either cooked or uncooked.
Of course, there are problems with hygiene at times, but that's mostly because of the infrastructure in these markets.
So not only do they provide a significant source of employment, as Alejandro was just saying, for families, but they also provide an essential source of healthy, diverse diets for working people.
Liz Carlile [00:18:45] I think, Alejandro, I saw your hand?
Alejandro Guarin [00:18:49] No, no, no, no, no. I was just going to say, Costanza has said a couple of really important things that I wanted to highlight, which is the whole nutrition aspect of these markets.
And as I think we'll hear from my colleague, Mangiza in Zambia, these are providing food, but it’s not just food, it’s nutritious food. And it's not just nutritious, it's affordable. And for the most part it's safe.
So it's actually fulfilling quite an important role in a country like Zambia, which is very poor, and where people do not have money to go to a supermarket, for example, these informal markets are providing safe, affordable nutrition.
Liz Carlile [00:19:28] Yes, let's hear from Mangiza now.
Mangiza Chirwa [00:19:37] My name is Mangiza Chirwa, from the Sustainable Diets for All programme here in Zambia, and one of the aspects of the Sustainable Diets for All programme has been work on informal markets. On this particular work we did the research, which was meant to find out what are the characteristics of the informal food markets in Zambia. And what are the challenges? What are the perspectives from the consumers and the policymakers?
And what was very surprising to me was that during the time that the research was being done, I listened to a radio station called Komboni Radio here in Zambia, and that particular radio station deals with people who live and work in compounds. And so this presenter was asking the callers on what they had eaten and whether it was sufficient for them, whether it was balanced.
And to my surprise, everybody else that called in was saying that they had eaten some form of protein – meat, fish, vegetables, grains and fruits. And so it occurred to me at that point that work on the informal sector is not about access, it's more about the nutritional aspect of it.
So as we went along with the research, I started paying attention to what are the prices in the informal markets? Or why is it that the people who are working in the informal markets are actually saying that they are getting the various types of food that they need from these markets, and they realise that the same food that is in the supermarket... for instance, if you look at fish, which is selling at $3 or $4 per kilogram, in the informal markets it's selling at 50 cents. So for sure they can afford the variety of the food that is there.
So the question then is, what should be our issue? What should be our forecast? And so, you know, we started working with the government organisation that is looking into nutrition to kind of… well, like, on how we can make the nutrition aspect of their food in the informal sector good enough for the people that are consuming.
And it was so interesting to find that about 90% of low-income households are getting their food from this informal sector. And almost half the population, that is across the income brackets, are getting their food from the informal sector.
So it became really important for us to look into the nutrition aspect.
So once we did this study, we also looked at what are the alternatives that we can propose to government? And that was one of the really difficult things that we found, because for government, what we realised is that perspective is that they want to formalise, and they don't want to… They think that they cannot work with the informal sector in the way that it is right now.
And when we looked at the alternatives around, it seems there are not so many innovations on working with the informal sector in its current steps. And I think the answer lies with the population, the traders themselves, on what kind of innovations can we do to work around the things that they are doing in the current state of the informal sector?
Costanza de Toma [00:22:55] I think that's very true. What Mangiza says is one of the aspects that we have been looking at in our work across different countries. Because, of course, informal food markets have been a red thread going through a lot of our work in Sustainable Diets for All.
What she says about ‘the change lies within the vendors themselves’ is partly true. I think what we've also been doing is – and what Mangiza hasn't mentioned, but is a very important part of the work that she's doing right now in Lusaka, is – working with local authorities to facilitate the dialogue with all actors within the food system, including, of course, the traders, the vendors – as well as consumers and others, transporters and producers – to set up food councils.
What are food councils? I mean, these are just platforms that allow structured dialogue between the different actors and the local government to come up with coherent and consistent urban food policies, bringing in the voices of these invisible people within the food system.
So we said that informal food markets are often invisible, either by choice or not, but how can they be listened to? Because of course, they are part of the food system.
What fascinates me the most, and I am a newcomer to food systems, unlike Alejandro, is how these different food systems that we've mentioned so far can coexist within the same context, feeding different people within the same city, for instance, and how can they work together?
So this is one of the solutions that we've been looking at in terms of the food councils and looking at a coherent food policy.
And it's been fascinating for me as an advocate to see how our colleagues in Zambia, for instance, have applied some of the lessons and the models that have been successfully developed in some cities in Bolivia, for instance.
So we're organising, in January, we'll be organising an exchange, a learning exchange, between partners and colleagues from Zambia and Bolivia to look at what they've learned and how they've applied this concept in very, very different contexts.
So, I don't know, would you agree with that, Alejandro? You've worked more particularly in Bolivia.
Alejandro Guarin [00:25:49] Yeah, I think on those food councils, they’re a really interesting solution to a difficult problem, actually, which is, we've said these markets are important; they feed a lot of people; they provide nutritious food. All that stuff is true, but governments tend to adopt one of two positions around these markets.
One is ignore, or benign neglect – just let them be, but don't include them in discussions, don't make them part of policy. So the councils are trying to fix that. They're saying, ‘Well, they exist and they have something important to say’.
And then in the worst cases, they're repressive. They say, ‘Not only we do not like you, but we're going to chase you with the police’. And this happens and is very common actually, that street vendors, for example, are harassed and persecuted by the police.
And again, the food councils might be a good opportunity to modify some of these positions – to say, ‘I recognise these actors as legitimate and important. I'm not going to chase them with the police, I'm going to bring them to a table and see how we can work constructively’.
Liz Carlile [00:26:52] And I guess there's a real challenge, or a tension, too, between kind of the national government directive, I know particularly in Zambia, where food security is a really big issue, and there's a great focus on maize, and making sure that there is enough maize coming through the system so that people can be fed.
But the challenge then, if you look at a more bottom-up approach, where you're looking at actually individuals' diets, are they healthy? Are they nutritious? Are they sustainable? You have that tension.
So I suppose we've been focusing on this kind of bottom-up, but you've got then this tension at a national level between a kind of food security debate and then these food councils or food platforms. And I suppose this same tension around this kind of formal, informal, is always going to be a bit of a challenge.
Alejandro Guarin [00:27:46] That's a really good example, actually, Zambia, because it's, as you say, the government policy on food and nutrition is very maize-based and that's for good reasons, actually. When there were huge challenges with hunger and malnutrition, that was a crop that could be easily stored, distributed, etc.
But what I think is interesting in Zambia is… so it's easy to come to Zambia as an external person and say, ‘Oh no, you need to get beyond maize, it's [a] bad thing’. And that's not our thing. That's not our way of working.
But there's an actual groundswell of Zambian civil society activists, campaigners who have recognised this. They don't need anybody to come from the UK to tell them that this is a problem.
So there's a broad alliance of people in Zambia who are working towards diversification of maize, and this includes farmers, activists, NGOs. And what's really interesting is that that's... so we come in almost to just chime in with something that is already happening.
And increasingly also the government is realising that this agenda of diversification is needed. But when I said this is a good example is because I think it really shows how, what we call what ‘sustainable diets’ means. It cannot be coming from outside; it cannot be imposed, it needs to come from within. And for very good reasons.
And through all sorts of different pathways the people of Zambia realised that diversification was an important thing. And they put it on the agenda. And we come to help a little bit.
But it's a real… it's a key for success. It will not work if you have people helicoptering from outside to tell them what sustainable diets means.
Liz Carlile [00:29:43] Yes, so there's no one-size-fits-all. This is all about local context.
Alejandro Guarin [00:29:47] Right.
Liz Carlile [00:29:47] It's all about local tradition, all about local culture, all about local organisation.
Alejandro Guarin [00:29:53] Absolutely.
Liz Carlile [00:30:00] Did we want to hear from our colleague in Kenya? I think she had a very nice example about, was it the milk market there? And this same thing around the relationship between health, and prices, and the opportunity that the informal market gave for people's diets?
Emma Blackmore [00:30:24] So I'm Emma Blackmore. I'm an IIED research associate based in Nairobi, Kenya, and I am the Kenya lead on the IIED ILRI MoreMilk research project.
So the biggest thing that struck me from my work on informal milk markets in Kenya was just how effective these markets actually are in terms of providing what low-income consumers seem to want – which is raw milk – at convenient locations and affordable prices.
And whilst we need to acknowledge the safety risks of drinking raw milk, we should consider that much of this risk is actually mitigated through the boiling of milk at home, which most Kenyans actually do before they drink the milk. They take the milk in chai, which is a type of stewed tea.
What's more, is that typically speaking, the risks of drinking raw milk, which has been boiled, doesn't actually exceed the risk of drinking pasteurised milk from the formal sector – which isn't necessarily safe either.
Interestingly, consumers also prefer the taste of raw milk because it has more butter fat content than pasteurised milk.
We should also bear in mind that informal milk markets pay more to producers for their milk than the formal market does, and this means overall that these markets are likely leading to greater livelihood and nutrition gains for poor people than the formal market.
And this is something that the government doesn't seem to acknowledge. They either neglect the informal sector or try to stamp out altogether. But these markets are working well despite government rather than because of it.
Liz Carlile [00:31:55] So, Cos, some nice examples there.
Costanza de Toma [00:31:57] Yes, I think it reiterates some of the things that we've been saying with yet another example. I liked the way she says how markets are functioning despite the government, rather than as a result of government support – which links in to the invisibility, and it links in to the fact that the government is often trying to stamp them out or sweep them under the carpet.
But what I really wanted to come in on was what Alejandro was saying before we heard from Emma, because it really hits a chord with the advocacy work that I'm focusing on in the programme. And again, it is one of the lessons, I think, that we have come to realise that we've learnt as part of our bottom-up advocacy approach.
So what we've been doing is identifying, putting our finger on, and trying to understand and then nurture local agendas and initiatives around food and food systems.
So as Alejandro was saying with regard to the Zambia example, we didn't just come in one day and arrive in Lusaka and decide that crop diversification was the way forward. There were people there that had been working on this – perhaps for many years in some cases – and they were coming together.
And that is precisely what we have to do, and what we've tried to do as Sustainable Diets for All. It hasn't been to roll out our own agenda, our own external agenda coming in, but it's been more sitting down with people and saying, ‘Okay, we're talking about food today. What's happening in your area? What's happening in this context? What are the dynamics? Who are the key people in the food system? What are the problems?’, and trying to identify hotspots of agency, as we like to call it, perhaps in a very intellectual way, of dynamism between citizens. What are the initiatives that we can support?
And my role, with regard to the advocacy, has being precisely that – working with these either groups of citizens, or community-based organisations, or fully fledged CSOs (civil society organisations) to help them take their agenda forward and to build their capacity to work together.
So facilitate these partnerships between them, with the people across the food system, and try to distil the key messages. So identify the problem, of course, as any advocate would always start with? And then distil the key messages, and then help them articulate their messages through their own voices and their own lived experience, and then convey these messages to the right spots in order to... within the sort of decision-making bodies and policymaking bodies to make change happen. To lead to small or big transformations within the food system, starting with very simple changes to the infrastructure in urban markets, or huge transformations – as in crop diversification in Zambia.
Liz Carlile [00:35:42] So this is citizen agency, this kind of groundswell of engagement from the bottom up, we believe to be really important. I'm looking at Alejandro now, you can't see that, but I think perhaps you could finish with something around the importance of citizen agency.
And I think if you could perhaps acknowledge our partner, Hivos, who've been the partner that we’ve been specifically working with on this, that might also give our listeners a chance to follow up with some of the work they're doing.
Alejandro Guarin [00:36:16] Of course. My take would be as follows, and it's quite simple. If you take seriously the idea that we need sustainable diets, and the diet needs to be healthy for people, healthy for planets. So if we take that seriously, and I think we all do, but you also realise that it has to be meaningful, and it has to be appropriate for people in their context, in their incomes, in their traditions. So if you take those two things seriously, it leads you very closely and very easily into the informal market because this is where most people are getting their food.
And so for change to happen – going back to your original question of the citizen agency – for change to happen, basically it means that you cannot come and tell people what sustainable diets means. It means that in their context, in their own local places, traditions, foods, culinary traditions, etc, change needs to come from within.
And so what you need to do is recognise, where are the engines of change? And then help them as you can.
So this is the whole operating principle of the Hivos and IIED Sustainable Diets for All. But I would agree that it applies to everything we do. We cannot go into, say, going back to Emma talking about raw milk, you can't just go and say, ‘Well, everyone needs to eat pasteurised milk from now on’, because people actually want to drink raw milk.
So you just need to first understand what people want, and why they want it. And then you can start thinking of change. But that is the first.
Liz Carlile [00:38:14] OK, well, I think we have to draw to a close. This has been really interesting. It's a complex issue, and I think I say this in every IIED podcast, but it's quite clear that some of the issues we're dealing with are very complex and there's no simple answer. And it's why we rely on the voices of many people contributing to the work that we do to try and find solutions and understand different potential solutions.
We should thank Hivos, our partners, they're a civil society organisation based in the Netherlands. This is part of the Dialogue and Dissent programme of work supported by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs. And we've very much enjoyed working on this.
Thanks to our partners on Skype, really good to hear from them.
I'm going to finish by asking Cos and Alejandro for just a two-word or three-word, what's the biggest change you think should happen that you'd like to see, and one that you think might happen?
Costanza de Toma [00:39:25] As my esteemed colleague Bill Vorley would put it, I think we should all be meeting people where they are.
Liz Carlile [00:39:36] Thank you.
Alejandro Guarin [00:39:37] I'll borrow from, actually a colleague that I just visited in India, who was saying 97% of the milk here is traded informally, 3% formerly, but 97% of the budget goes to the formal bit. We need to change that. We need to make the investment in time, energy, understanding that goes into the informal sector, be commeasured to its importance and to how it feeds people all over the world.
Liz Carlile [00:40:07] Two very clear messages there, thank you.
Host [00:40:10] You can find out more about the Sustainable Diets for All programme on both the IIED and the Hivos websites. Visit IIED.org or Hivos.org and search for sustainable diets.
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