The role smallholder farmers play in addressing global food security is highlighted in this article. Small farms found in sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia, southeast Asia, and China produce 75% of food commodities globally, and 50–65% of the production volume of major food groups. As major food producers trend toward homogenizing their crops, the authors stress the importance of providing resources to smallholder farms in order to promote diverse production. Suggested support includes better connecting rural farmers to markets, empowering and engaging women farmers, and jumpstarting entrepreneurship among smallholder farmers.
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
The African Union Commission considers biofortification to be of great importance in the fight against malnutrition. The Commission has committed to using biofortification as a central strategy to ending hunger and improving nutrition. The bulk of evidence on biofortification so far comes from Africa, making this special journal issue valuable and comprehensive in assessing biofortification’s advantages.
Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
Drawing upon the combined analytical skills of agriculture and nutrition program staff, this tool supports a dialogue between agriculture specialists and nutrition specialists as they jointly design project interventions aimed at improving nutrition for vulnerable women and children under age two. The tool provides project staff responsible for agriculture and nutrition with four user-friendly steps through which they combine their skills and expertise to select and prioritize crops to be promoted at household level.
Sustainable food production and healthy diets complement each other, each one providing a means and an end to achieving global food security. This food systems-oriented report focuses on the places where nutrient-rich foods are produced, as well as the farmers who produce them, with a focus on small farmers and their dependence on diversity of foods.
The South Asia Food and Nutrition Security Initiative (SAFANSI) seeks to address the South Asian Enigma—how chronic malnutrition remains intractable despite high economic growth—by fostering the crosscutting actions that will lead to measurable improvements in food and nutrition security (FNS). Phase II (SAFANSI II) Trust Fund, which began in 2014, aims to improve FNS for individuals and communities in South Asia through a strengthened commitment and increased capacity for more effective and integrated FNS actions across South Asia. SAFANSI’s goal is to foster the cross-cutting actions that will lead to measurable improvements in Food and Nutrition Security, focusing on several themes and sectors, including agriculture.
Women’s Empowerment Mainstreaming And Networking (WEMAN) is an initiative which focuses on gender mainstreaming in rural development with the objective of contributing to food and income security, sustainable livelihoods, and gender equality in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. This is mainly achieved by integrating the Gender Action Learning System (GALS) - a community-led empowerment methodology - into financial services, farmer training, business development services, and market linkages. The project runs from 2008–2020 and, so far, over 100,000 women and men and more than 70 organizations have been directly involved in WEMAN in countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Nigeria, Sudan, Peru, Colombia, Pakistan, and Bangladesh.
Integration of Nutrition in Agriculture Extension Services in Africa - A Desk Review of Country Case Studies, Pre-Service and In-Service Training Materials
Linking agricultural extension and advisory service with participatory learning and action on nutrition and health has the potential to improve the sustainability and impact of food and agricultural programs on nutrition and household food security. Due to their established structure and their greater reach to the community of whom they often already have the trust, agricultural extension and advisory workers (EAW) are probably the best resource to help achieve nutrition security through nutrition education to farmers. This literature review examines specific steps to mainstream nutrition actions that involve these workers.
This report assessed the nutrition situation amongst residents of the "estate" or commercial farm sector, identified the main causes of nutritional deficiencies, as well as gaps in the provision of key nutrition-related services in Sri Lanka. The findings and recommendations can be used to inform policymakers and planners who are preparing strategic policies and can support effective multisectoral nutrition and health interventions. The two main objectives of the study were to assess the size, severity, and key determinants of undernutrition in Sri Lanka's estate sector, and to examine access to nutrition-related services.
The U.S. Agency for International Development Bureau for Food Security (USAID BFS) collaborated with leaders and practitioners across the development landscape to share knowledge, good practices and lessons learned in market systems, trade, finance and resilience over a four day symposium. USAID staff and experienced practitioners discussed approaches to leveraging market forces and food systems to advance global food security. Participants benefitted from an enhanced understanding of Bureau for Food Security support to Missions and new skills to incorporate the latest guidance, technology, and practices in market-based solutions.
Online Community Corner
Aligning Research Investments to the Global Food Security Strategy: A Three-Day AgExchange on Nutrition, Resilience and Agriculture-Led Economic Growth
This online event, hosted by The Board for International Food and Agricultural Development (BIFAD) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), reached out to development practitioners and researchers working in food security for input on research investments to support the U.S. Government’s Global Food Security Strategy (GFSS). The event kicked off with a live webinar, followed by facilitated online discussions exploring USG research needs across three core themes from the GFSS Results Framework: agriculture-led economic growth, resilience, and nutrition; and ended with a final live webinar on April 20. Recordings of the webinars can be found at the link below.
Agricultural extension services play an important role in disseminating production information to small farmers, especially on issues like aflatoxins. But in extension services in Zambia, women are often ignored in this information, making uptake of improved farming practices uneven across populations. This webinar provided an overview of strategies to reduce aflatoxin contamination with a special gender focus.