Nutritious Agriculture by Design: A Program Planning Tool

Date of Design: 
Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) & the Institute for Development Studies (IDS)
Contact Institution: 
Pathway Component: 
Agricultural Income, Caring Capacity & Practices, Diet, Female Energy Expenditure, Food Access, Food Expenditure, Food Prices, Food Production, Health Care, Processing & Storage


Brief Description: The Nutritious Agriculture by Design: A Tool for Program Planning was developed for assessing and improving the linkages between agriculture and nutrition. In particular: focusing agricultural projects on the production of crops and livestock that are rich in micronutrients and their consumption by those whose diets are nutritionally deficient. The tool is designed to be applied to existing and planned agricultural projects that focus on: 1) improving agricultural productivity; and 2) raising the income of farm and agricultural labor households.

Uses: The tool aims to identify ways that agricultural interventions can be more nutrition-friendly and nutritional outcomes can be captured by monitoring and evaluation (M&E) frameworks. 

Tool Components: The primary components of the tool include the following:

  • Developing and using the Program Planning Tool
  • Pathways from agriculture to nutrition
  • Use of the Program Planning Tool


Number of Staff Required: Not specified; the tool aims to generate thinking by those engaged in the design and/or implementation of interventions as to how nutritional impacts can be enhanced and/or better demonstrated. No additional staff are required for this assessment tool. 

Time: Not specified; the individuals involved in project design could complete the assessment quickly, as it focuses on critical thinking rather than specific data collection. 

Cost of Assessment: This should not require any additional costs; it is a tool to assist during the phase of program design. 

Training: The tool is designed to be used with little or no prior training or support, although experiences in Tanzania indicate the value of a prior workshop that explains how the tool is structured and provides an opportunity for a run-through of the analysis at a fairly informal and cursory level. 

Geographic Targeting: The project implementation area will determine the target area.

Type of Data Collection: None; it is expected that the program planners and implementers will have sufficient information to complete the tool. 

Degree of Technical Difficulty: The Program Planning Tool takes the form of a series of questions in an electronic format that provides prompts and adjusts the flow of questions according to prior responses. In this way, the tool aims to be as user-friendly as possible. 

Complements other Resources: Many other sources of information should be consulted to improve understanding of the context and to assist with designing a project to address specific needs. This tool helps program designers consolidate and analyze data to make interventions more nutrition-friendly.

This summary is part of a larger resource called the Context Assessment Tool Locator.