How can nutrition education and behavior change influence agricultural interventions? In 2014, process reviews were conducted in Cambodia and Malawi of food security projects that provided agricultural support and community-based nutrition education on improved infant and young child feeding (IYCF). Results show that adoption of improved IYCF practices was facilitated by participation in nutrition education and practical cooking sessions, and supportive family and community structures. The article also describes barriers and challenges to implementing nutrition education and provides lessons learned for integrated agriculture-IYCF nutrition education programs to help ensure better young child nutrition outcomes.
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 research detailed in this article explores Ugandan district leaders’ perceptions of the nutrition situation, programs, and opportunities for integration as part of "Pathways-to-Better Nutrition" (PBN) case study conducted by USAID/SPRING Project. Qualitative data collection of key informant interviews and focus group discussions found that nutrition statistics are not widely known, nutrition is not prioritized by the government, and that capacity to undergo nutrition programming is considered insufficient. The Uganda situation highlights how efforts to address malnutrition need to be multi-sectoral, coupled with increased coordination of different sectors and ministries for sustained impact on nutrition outcomes.
This article views food security policy’s inclusion of women in agriculture with a critical lens, highlighting myths on women, agriculture, and the environment that continue to pervade policy and misguide it. Using empirical and conceptual literature, the article debunks the following four myths: 70% of the world's poor are women, women produce 60–80% of the food, women own 1–2% of the land, and women are intrinsically better stewards of the environment. The authors call for the promotion of nuanced and comprehensive data to enhance understanding of the impact of programs and policies, and to increase food security and gender equality.
Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
SNV’s ENUFF project in Lao PDR integrates activities in gender, agriculture, nutrition, and WASH to improve the nutritional status of families in the country's northern region. The project's baseline study found that the nutritional status of children is strongly influenced by education, women’s knowledge and awareness, market integration, and the financial capacity of households to diversify their livelihoods and improve their living conditions. Interventions in the food system can support agricultural livelihoods while also improving diets, especially if the interventions support health and care practices and are a part of multi-sectoral programming. This technical brief details the nutrition and governance landscape in Lao PDR, the ENUFF project implementation framework, challenges encountered, lessons learned, and recommendations for multisectoral governance for nutrition.
FANTA’s legacy report highlights six years of technical assistance in Guatemala aiming to raise awareness of the need to invest in evidence-based nutrition services; strengthen collaboration among the agriculture, health, and nutrition sectors; and to improve maternal, infant, and young child health and nutrition within the context of Government of Guatemala. Notably, FANTA’s nutrition distance learning course was taught and adapted for over a thousand health workers, government staff, and university students. FANTA’s Guatemala activities also resulted in 604 USAID/Guatemala agriculture partners, GoG agriculture staff, and university agronomy and nutrition students trained in nutrition-sensitive agriculture and agriculture-nutrition linkages. The report concludes with a number of lessons learned and recommendations for moving forward with nutrition programming in Guatemala.
The latest Global Nutrition Report explores nutrition benchmarks through the framework of the SDGs, noting that a significant population has been left behind from the recent improvements to nutrition worldwide. It suggests five areas of development that a nutrition focus can contribute to and benefit from sustainable food production, infrastructure, health systems, equity and inclusion, and peace and stability. The report concludes by stressing that ending malnutrition in all its forms will catalyze improved outcomes across the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Filling a need to provide empirical evidence on agriculture’s contribution to nutrition, IFPRI’s discussion paper reviews recent evidence (since 2014), including findings from impact evaluations of a variety of NSA programs that document linkages between agriculture, women’s empowerment, and nutrition. It summarizes existing knowledge regarding impact, and also pathways, mechanisms, and contextual factors that affect where and how agriculture may improve nutrition outcomes. The report concludes with recommendations for research priorities: documenting the sustainability, scale-up opportunities and challenges, and cost-effectiveness of NSA programs, and understanding their role in, contributions to, and interactions with markets, the food environment, and local and national food systems.
The Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition in partnership with the Agriculture, Nutrition & Health (ANH) Academy jointly hosted the 5th Annual Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition (Nutrition Innovation Lab) Agriculture-Nutrition Scientific Symposium, and the 2nd Agriculture, Nutrition and Health (ANH) Academy week from 9-13 July 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The event report, which details attendance, sessions, speeches, and next steps are now available.
The Symposium, held in Bangkok in October 2017, sought to enhance agriculture and food systems' visibility, create policy and program options, promote sustainable diets, and build partnerships through taking stock of evidence on transformational change in food systems toward sustainability, and their link to positive health and nutrition outcomes. These objectives remain key for the Asia Pacific region and its communities as they confront hunger, malnutrition and the challenges of building sustainable food systems in the face of their dynamic growth.
IFPRI’s recent seminar delved into resilience in food production systems in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Paris Agreement, and the COP23 UN Climate Change Conference. Researchers with IFPRI and partner organizations discussed advances in system thinking, multi-objective analysis, and scenario assessment in support of decision-making processes that can support policy analysis.
This event presented findings from a recent report highlighting a randomized controlled trial targeting young children in the highlands of Ecuador, which provided eggs as part of a complementary feeding diet. After just six months, the intervention reduced stunting by 47 percent among the study population and showed significant positive changes in biomarkers associated with improved development.
Online Community Corner
The WEIA tool, launched in 2012, has now been rolled-out in 19 Feed the Future focus countries. This webinar provides an overview of the updated WEAI tool and takes stock of current learning on the linkage between women’s empowerment in agriculture and nutrition outcomes based on results from Feed The Future surveys, ongoing pilot studies, and other analyses using WEAI data. The presentation concludes with some suggestions on how the tool can be applied to future projects, and what implications for policy and practice can be drawn from context-specific findings as well as general lessons learned across regions.
In this blog, Johanna Wong, a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Sydney, shares research findings from Timor-Leste about the promoters and inhibitors of animal source food consumption in rural households. Johanna’s research investigates the links between village chickens, maternal and child diets, and nutritional status in Timor-Leste. Increasing village chicken and egg production using a gender-sensitive approach has great potential to improve the nutritional status of women and children in vulnerable households.