Cross-cutting themes

As a new instrument, GlobalFood has identified four cross-cutting themes in 2014 that will foster interdisciplinary cooperation and allow broader syntheses of research findings. These cross-cutting themes address specific areas that are of great importance for a better understanding of the global agri-food system transformation, but that have not yet received much attention in the related literature.

  • Gender. There is increasing evidence that changes in input, output, and agricultural labor markets, consumer preferences, and policy can affect men and women differently. This holds true for food production and consumption, as well as for market interactions at all supply chain stages. Gender is a theme that basically concerns all socioeconomic research. However, for some of the research questions pursued in the RTG, we will be more specific, collecting and analyzing gender-disaggregated data. Using harmonized questionnaire modules on gender aspects across subprojects will allow interesting comparisons.

  • Nutrition. Nutrition effects of the agri-food system transformation for producers and consumers have rarely been analyzed. This is an important research gap given that problems of unhealthy diets and malnutrition (undernutrition and overnutrition) are widespread and further increasing in many parts of the world. We will use and further develop different methods to assess food consumption trends and impacts on dietary quality and nutrition, which involves the collection and use of food consumption, anthropometric, and other health data. Using harmonized questionnaire modules on dietary and nutrition assessment across subprojects will allow interesting comparisons.

  • Preferences. Supply chain actors - such as producers, consumers, traders, or laborers - behave differently depending on their personal preferences, so understanding these preferences is important to predict trends and adjust business and policy strategies accordingly. Different tools of analysis are available based on revealed and stated preferences data. We will use and further develop such tools at various supply chain stages and in various international settings, which will allow comparisons of both results and methods.

  • Policy. Most research in agricultural and development economics is relevant for policymaking to varying degrees. In some of the GlobalFood research, we will go beyond merely raising some potential policy implications at the end of research papers, but instead make the analysis of policy impacts and alternatives more explicit. We use a very broad policy concept and consider both policy outputs and policy inputs. Moreover, we include public policymaking at macro and micro levels, as well as private-sector decision-making and strategy development. As part of this cross-cutting theme, we also plan to develop broader review and synthesis papers with clear policy recommendations on specific issues.