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From the charter of the United Nations University
Purposes and structure
Academic freedom and autonomy
In 1975 the Advisory Committee to the World Hunger Programme of the United Nations University recommended holding a series of workshops to explore and emphasize the multiple interactions between agriculture, food science, and nutrition. It was suggested that these workshops should be held at various international agricultural research institutions, and should involve persons concerned with research, training, and policy-making in the three disciplines in the countries of each region in which the workshops were held, with the participation also of some experts from other regions. In accordance with this suggestion, workshops were held at the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) in Ibadan, Nigeria, in December 1976; at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) at Los Baņos, Philippines, in March 1977; and at the Institute of Nutrition of Central America and Panama (INCAP) in Guatemala City, Guatemala, in November 1978 in co-operation with the International Centre for Tropical Agriculture Research (CIAT) in Cali, Colombia, the International Centre for Maize and Wheat Improvement (CIMMYT) in Mexico City, Mexico, and the Tropical Agricultural Research and Training Centre (CATIE) in Turrialba, Costa Rica. The workshop that formed the basis for this volume was organized by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Patancheru (Hyderabad), India, in November 1981. Another was subsequently held at the International Centre for Agricultural Research in Dry Areas (ICARDA) in Aleppo, Syrian Arab Republic, in February 1982. Two papers from the workshop in Ibadan were published in the first issue of the Food and Nutrition Bulletin. The report of the Los Baņos workshop was produced by IRRI as a joint publication with the UN University, and the report of the one in Guatemala is being published in Spanish by INCAP. It is expected that the report of the Aleppo workshop will be published by the UN University in a format similar to this one.
It should be recognized that, from its beginning in 1975, the United Nations University has been concerned with the role of agriculture in assuring adequate food and making possible proper nutrition for the world's population. The UN University was strongly advised, however, to concentrate on issues of post-harvest conservation and food distribution and consumption as areas not receiving attention from the research institutions co-operating with the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and to only a limited degree from other agencies in the United Nations system. Since then, the International Food Policy Research Institute, with headquarters in Washington, D.C., has been established as an integral part of the CGIAR system, and food-distribution issues have been receiving more attention within the UN system. The series of workshops on the interfaces between agriculture, food science, and nutrition have contributed to this trend. While no further workshops in the series are currently planned, the UN University maintains its interest in these issues through sponsorship with the United Nations Development Programme of a series of multidisciplinary research projects on the influence of agricultural policy on nutrition status and on income generation and poverty reduction. It is planned that sometime during 1984 the reports of these projects will be brought together in a workshop and ultimately be published in book form.
The papers and discussions in the present volume give broad coverage to interface problems, focusing not only on interactions at the stage of primary production, which are normally the concern of the international agricultural research institutions, but also on those at the stage of post-harvest food conservation, distribution, and consumption. There is also a section on the handling of foods to achieve better nutrition. It is hoped that this volume will be useful to persons working in the fields of agriculture, human nutrition, and food science throughout the world.
Various international organizations and national governments are finding ways and means to increase and stabilize the production of food grains to meet the food and nutritional needs of the galloping population adequately. It is increasingly being recognized that besides increasing food production, its storage processing, utilization, and nutritional evaluation are equally important and deserve immediate attention. No doubt, scientists trained in different disciplines pursue their objectives with great zeal and vigour to fulfil their mission-oriented research, but the food problem cannot be solved unless all aspects of food receive deserved attention. All the efforts should be directed to one goal - to make available within easy access low cost nutritious food to the population. For this purpose a multidisciplinary approach in research is needed that calls for a careful planning and concerted action by scientists, nutritionists, policy-makers, economists, and technologists.
It is with this background that a workshop on interfaces between agriculture, nutrition, and food science was jointly organized by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-arid Tropics (ICRISAT), the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), and the Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), and was sponsored by the United Nations University (UNU). The workshop was held on 10-12 November 1981 at Hyderabad, India, with some sessions at ICRISAT and others at NIN. In addition to scientists from the above-mentioned institutions, various specialists from other parts of India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and Sri Lanka also participated in the workshop. These specialists presented state-of-the-art reports for their respective countries.
The objectives of the workshop were:
It is noteworthy that the three prominent institutes of excellence covering the three different aspects of food chain - production, storage processing, and nutritional evaluation - participated. The workshop also provided an excellent forum for interaction and exchange of information between the neighbouring countries that are faced with similar problems. The twilight zones or interfaces, which are often neglected by the specialized research organizations, were discussed and avenues of future co-operation and collaboration identified. Recommendations were made for strengthening the existing linkage and the collaborative research needs for achieving the common goal.
We gratefully acknowledge the financial assistance provided by the United Nations University for conducting this workshop and thank all the participants and other staff members of the various institutions for contributing to its success.
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