Climate change is a threat multiplier, particularly when it comes to food security and nutrition. Its impacts on agriculture, nutrition and health will be particularly felt by the most vulnerable segments of the world population who appear to contribute the less to the root causes of climate change. Fighting this injustice requires ambitious climate action, based on transparency and the participation of empowered social movements both at national and international levels. This article examines these issues in detail, linking climate action to ongoing efforts to improve nutrition through agriculture.
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
Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
Access to a well-rounded extension system provides key support to the 6 million people working in Zambia’s agriculture sector. Agriculture accounts for up to 85% of Zambia’s workforce and is the main livelihood for rural people, of which 77% are poor, so an encompassing, well-functioning extension system is necessary to improve their lives. This success story examines issues facing Zambia’s extension system and discusses the implementation of a strategy four years in the making that represents a major step towards achieving food and nutrition security and helping Zambians rise out of poverty.
This program uses a social entrepreneurship approach to strengthen university training in policy analysis for food systems, with emphasis on developing countries. The approach involves participatory training based on classroom presentations and discussions of cases of real policy issues facing policy-makers for use in undergraduate and graduate teaching. The approach attempts to simulate real policy-making situations within an analytical and conceptual learning environment, employing a hands-on, participatory method in which the students are taught to be social entrepreneurs.
Mercy Lung’aho, nutritionist for the International Center for Tropical Agriculture, grapples with the gap between food security and nutrition in Rwanda. While hunger has been reduced by almost half between 1990 and 2015, nutrition is not improving, due to a lack of collaboration between nutrition, health, and agriculture experts. Lung’aho provides three avenues to success: collaboration between the agricultural and health sectors to define healthy diets, increasing farmer incomes over the long term, and using agriculture to influence nutrition by empowering women to better manage their time and energy expenditure. Her solution - fund effective agriculture programs to enable farmers to profit by producing nutritious foods.
The IndiKit indicator tool was developed by the Czech relief and development organization People in Need (PIN). It aims to enable humanitarian and development workers to 1) use well-formulated indicators for measuring their interventions’ progress towards achieving the intended outputs, outcomes and impact; and 2) to correctly collect and analyze the data required for each indicator. Indicators are broken down by categories, including “Food Security and Nutrition” and “Agriculture and NRM.” IndiKit works on the idea that all aid practitioners should have an opportunity to further improve its content and therefore invites all users to propose new indicators, improve the existing ones and share the key lessons learned when using different indicators.
The Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services has developed The New Extensionist: a global view of extension and advisory services (EAS) that reinvents and clearly articulates the role of EAS in the rapidly-changing rural context. It argues for an expanded role for EAS within agricultural innovation systems (AIS) and development of new capacities at different levels to play this role. The Learning Kit contains 13 modules designed for self-directed, face-to-face, or blended learning and can be a useful tool for individual extension field staff, managers, lecturers, non-governmental organizations, and other training institutions.
The UN Decade of Action on Nutrition provides a window of opportunity to enhance coordination and collaboration among all actors, and drive integrated action across multiple sectors, to accelerate the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. This issue of UNSCN News, published at the beginning of the Nutrition Decade, serves as a platform for various stakeholders to share concrete examples of how to eliminate all forms of malnutrition.
Guatemala is the wealthiest of Feed the Future’s 19 focus countries globally, yet it grapples with severe malnutrition, rising poverty, and stark inequality. Guatemala’s economy has made significant strides but many of its most vulnerable people, particularly in indigenous communities, have been left behind. A changing climate and high exposure to natural hazards further exacerbate the challenges facing the rural agrarian poor. In this event, the CSIS Global Food Security Project launched its third and final country case study. The team traveled to Guatemala in late 2016 to investigate the largest Feed the Future portfolio in the Americas, its technical strategy, its sectoral and geographical distribution of investments, and its coordination efforts within and beyond U.S. programming.
Biofortification to address nutrient deficiencies unites agriculture and nutrition to improve the health and livelihoods of smallholder farming families – still the majority of the population in developing countries. The process uses conventional crop breeding to enrich the seeds of widely consumed staple food crops with vitamin A, iron, or zinc, nutrients. Dr. Howarth Bouis, founder of HarvestPlus, spoke in this event on whether biofortification needs to complement other approaches to micronutrient deficiencies, the role U.S. researchers and policymakers have played in achieving successes to date, and the challenges to scaling up across different countries, crops, and seed systems.
The UC Davis World Food Center organized a workshop on "Aligning the Food System to Meet Dietary Needs: Fruits and Vegetables," on June 2-3, 2017, held at the UC Davis Conference Center. The event was hosted in collaboration with the Program in International and Community Nutrition and the Horticulture Innovation Lab. This workshop aimed to provide recommendations for development practitioners to improve the availability, affordability, and demand of fruits and vegetables over the course of three sessions: Optimal Nutrition and the Consumption of Fruits and Vegetables, Improving the Availability of Fruits and Vegetables, and Metrics to Evaluate and Improve Diet Quality.
Online Community Corner
This report summarizes an online discussion event held April 25-26 2017, hosted by Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia. The LANSA agri-food value chains research teams have been investigating the effectiveness of different routes for delivering high-quality nutrient-dense food to low-income and undernourished people with case studies in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan. This activity provided a platform for the researchers to engage with stakeholders around this specific theme of research. The online discussion provided an opportunity for key stakeholders to review the research framework and initial findings of the case studies, to discuss regional and country specific successes and challenges, and to share experiences and thoughts on wider systems challenges around agri-food value chains for nutrition, as well as ways forward to work together. 91 individuals joined the discussion, and 99 messages were posted over its course.
FAO’s FSN forum is hosting an online discussion to reflect on the role that agricultural extension and advisory services (AEAS) can play in contributing to reducing gender inequalities and improving nutrition. The objective of this online discussion is to collect experiences, methodologies, and lessons learned around gender-sensitive and nutrition-enhancing AEAS practices from all over the world. The results of this discussion will inform the work of the newly-formed GFRAS Nutrition Working Group, which provides resources and effective coordination opportunities for practitioners and policy makers. The discussion will be open through July 9.