Although there is a consensus regarding the need to invest in nutrition-sensitive programs, the current global evidence base regarding the nutritional impacts of nutrition-sensitive programs is generally limited. This chapter provides guidance on evidence-based design on such multi-sectoral programs and aims to clarify challenges that have prevented evaluations of such programs in the past. The authors suggest that the evidence gap will be filled more quickly using this guidance and that future investments will benefit from a strong body of evidence regarding effective approaches to improving nutrition and their costs.
Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review
The Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review is a monthly selection of materials to keep you updated on research and developments related to strengthening linkages between agriculture and nutrition. Resources from this month’s review are featured below. To see materials from earlier editions, or to view resources from across SPRING's technical areas, visit the Resource Review.
Interested in a broader perspective? You can find interesting resources from across SPRING’s technical areas in the Resource Review
This article aims to revisit the commonly held belief that women in Sub-Saharan Africa are responsible for 60–80% of the agricultural labor supplied, a figure that traces back to an undocumented quote in a more general study of women’s contribution to development in 1972. Researchers found that across the six African countries examined in the study, the female share of labor only came out to a substantially lower 40%. The findings question prevailing assertions regarding substantial gains in aggregate crop output as a result of increasing female agricultural productivity and point to possible gender and knowledge biases in reporting.
This study works to expand the evidence base for how the transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture affects nutritional outcomes. Using data from three African countries, the analysis shows high rates of market participation and commercialization with landholders of all sizes and incomes, in opposition to common assumptions. Notably, the study also found little evidence of a positive relationship between commercialization and nutritional status. Calling attention to the weak association between increased commercialization and improved food security and nutritional outcomes, the researchers argue for countries and international agencies to prioritize nutrition-sensitive agriculture and the research to support it.
The authors perform a qualitative study of changing food habits in Humla, Nepal, based on outside factors like access to markets and work-for-food programs. They find that while a new road in Humla is helping to solve the problem of quantity-of-food related food security, it has given rise to numerous quality-of-food related food security issues, including increased risk for children in upper Humla to develop diet-related non-communicable diseases (DR-NCDs). This study is more widely applicable as a framework to study issues of diet quality in tandem with diet quantity, as well as changes to diets because of changing food access.
Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
IFPRI’s annual report on global food policy marks progress in 2016 towards food security and nutrition, as well as a commitment to sustainable development. This year’s report has a special focus on the challenges and changes surrounding rapid urbanization and its consequences. Rural-urban linkages between rural food producers and urban markets are highlighted as a pathway for policy and investments to support rural and urban populations.
Empowering women is a critical component to improving food security. But what does women's empowerment in agriculture look like and how can practitioners design activities to promote it? The resources on this page provide information about the Women's Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) and the Gender Integration Framework (GIF). Together these tools can be used to identify constraints to women's empowerment and design activities and projects to address them.
The World Health Organization recently hosted a nutrition seminar at its headquarters in Geneva to discuss the Global Panel’s recently launched Foresight report Food Systems and Diets: Facing the Challenges of the 21st Century. A panel of experts discussed the benefits of a food systems approach to tackling malnutrition in all its forms and explored opportunities to strengthen ties between health, food systems, agriculture, and nutrition communities.
Targeting interventions for smallholder farmers is constrained by a lack of nuanced information about these populations’ behaviors. This is particularly challenging for food security and nutrition interventions because they are dependent on addressing specific behaviors, which are difficult to quantify. This blog elaborates on these challenges and potential solutions through aid accountability.
Why would talking about a clock help a family grow more food? In this guest blog, Emily Hillenbrand highlights the work of the Pathways program, which focuses on getting women farmers access to the rights, resources, and skills they need to be effective producers. The “daily clock” exercise, which helps men and women talk together about the gender division of household burden of labor, provides valuable insight for communities and individuals that has led to effective change in the treatment of women farmers. The blog further highlights the successes of the Pathways program, which has generated $31 of benefit for every $1 the project spent working in Ghana, Mali, and Malawi.
The United Kingdom and Germany have pre-selected 7 NAMA Support Projects targeting emission reductions from the NAMA Facility’s 4th Call, which will receive funding for their Detailed Preparation Phase. Countries receiving support for the Detailed Preparation Phase include Brazil (enhancing resource efficiency across the beef supply chain), Mexico (renewable energy and energy efficiency in sugar mills), and Thailand (innovative rice cultivation to lower greenhouse gas emissions).
This blog post shares updates on the development of the pro-WEAI, highlighting a midterm workshop on March 9-11, 2017 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, which reviewed progress on the quantitative and qualitative studies being undertaken by 15 agricultural development projects. The three-day workshop provided an opportunity for members of the GAAP2 community to discuss their experiences and challenges implementing and analyzing the project-level WEAI (pro-WEAI) research instruments, build community, and plan the next steps for the GAAP2 program.
On March 16, the World Bank Group Agriculture Global Practice co-hosted with the Health Global Practice and SecureNutrition a presentation by the authors of the Global Panel’s “Foresight Report,” Emmy Simmons and Dr. Patrick Webb. The presentation was attended by about 80 individuals in-person and online. Ms. Simmons and Dr. Webb provided the opportunity to understand what a high-quality diet means, discussed the critical role that food systems play in diet quality, and presented a decision-making tool that identifies entry points when taking action within the food system.
On March 16, Domitille Kauffmann from FAO’s Nutrition and Food Systems Division delivered a training to strengthen capacities of development practitioners to integrate nutrition into their agricultural and livelihoods projects. She walked through fundamentals of nutrition, followed by conceptual linkages between agriculture and nutrition, and finally finished with a case study to adapt a fictional "Maize Intensification Programme" to be nutrition-sensitive. SecureNutrition has published the training slides and additional related resources on the event’s webpage.
Online Community Corner
The FSN Forum of the FAO invites the participants of the FSN Forum to read the discussion paper on "Inclusive value chains for sustainable agriculture and scaled up food security and nutrition outcomes" and engage in a stimulating discussion to assist the Rome-based agencies—including FAO, IFAD and WFP, along with Bioversity International and IFPRI— in refining their approach to nutrition-sensitive value chain development, and to move from Principles to Action, bringing this approach to on-going operations in the field. Questions to consider include, what challenges and opportunities arise when developing VC to be more nutrition-sensitive, and what examples of nutrition-sensitive value chain approaches can you share and what lessons can be learned from them? The e-consultation is ongoing and will close on April 17, 2017.