The role of the private sector in food system resilience: lessons from Cambodia.
A food system approach to attaining Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty eradication, hunger elimination, and health and nutrition is gaining momentum as a development paradigm. However, operationalizing a food system approach at the national policy and programming level remains largely unexplored. The sustainability and the resilience of food systems are driven by many factors that result from the increasing complexity and uncertainty in global matters such as climate change, rapid urbanization, population aging, unexpected shocks such as natural disasters and financial and political crises, and finally, unexpected responses of food systems themselves to these events. The role of the private sector in achieving resilience for the food system has been recognized for some time. Better functioning food, agriculture, and input markets can reduce price uncertainty and the vulnerability of farmers and consumers alike. Yet little is known about the specific interventions, both public and private, that can help build a resilient food system through increasing the private sector's role. This paper assesses the role of the private sector by using the case study of Cambodia to learn specific lessons for increasing the resilience of food systems in the developing world. In order to develop a sustainable and lasting impact, it is imperative that both market actors and private actors be involved in addressing the new challenges facing vulnerable food systems.