From Nutrition Plus to Nutrition Driven: how to realize the elusive potential of agriculture for nutrition?

Institute of Development Studies, Brighton BN1 9RE, UK.
Food and nutrition bulletin (Impact Factor: 1.15). 03/2013; 34(1):39-44.
Source: PubMed


Agriculture has the potential to have a bigger impact on nutrition status than it currently does. The pathways between agriculture and nutrition are well known. Yet the evidence on how to increase the impact of agriculture on nutrition is weak.
To outline some of the possible reasons for the weak evidentiary link between agriculture and income and to highlight some approaches to incentivizing agriculture to give nutrition a greater priority.
A review of literature reviews and other studies.
Agriculture does not have a strong poverty and nutrition impact culture, the statistical links between aggregate agriculture and nutrition data are weak, literature reviews to date have not been sufficiently clear on the quality of evidence admitted, and the evidence for the impact of biofortification on nutrition status is positive, but small. Some tools are proposed and described that may be helpful in raising the profile of nutrition outcomes, building nutrition outcomes into impact assessments of agriculture, measuring the commitment to undernutrition reduction, and helping to prioritize nutrition-relevant actions within agriculture. Leadership in agriculture and nutrition is also an understudied issue.
Agriculture has a vast potential to increase its impact on nutrition outcomes. We don't know if this potential is being fully realized as yet. I suspect it is not. Tools that help promote the visibility of nutrition within agriculture and the accountability of agriculture toward nutrition can possibly contribute to moving "from Nutrition Plus to Nutrition Driven" agriculture.

16 Reads
  • Source
    • "Thus, there is a need for improved policy interventions to address nutrition. For instance , existing reviews of food related interventions to improve nutrition in low-and middle-income countries (LMIC) (Berti et al. 2004; Carmen Casanovas et al. 2013; Girard et al. 2012; Masset et al. 2012; Ruel and Alderman 2013; Weinberger 2013) reveal a focus on farm-level interventions for producer-consumers, while evidence for the effect of policy interventions that focus on the market pathway as a means to impact nutrition is comparatively limited (Dangour et al. 2013a; Haddad 2013; Pinstrup-Andersen 2013; Turner et al. 2013; Webb and Kennedy 2014). Yet while many frameworks have been developed for describing or understanding relationships between agriculture and nutrition, they have often been oriented towards project design and implementation, or focus on sub-sections of the food system without adequate attention to bigger-picture linkages which are frequently needed for consideration by policymakers. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Agriculture and food systems are important determinants of nutrition and consequent public health. However, an understanding of the links among agriculture, food systems, nutrition, public health and the associated policy levers, is relatively under-developed. A framework conceptualizing these key relationships, relevant to a range of country contexts, would help inform policymakers as to how agriculture and food policy could improve nutrition and public health, particularly in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC). The objectives of this paper are: to present a conceptual framework, relevant to a range of country contexts and focused on the policymaker as the user, which depicts the key relationships among agriculture, the food system, nutrition and public health; and to describe how the framework can be used for understanding the impacts of agriculture and food system policies on nutrition outcomes. Existing conceptual frameworks, highlighting the relationships among agriculture, the food system, nutrition and public health (n = 37) were identified, reviewed and categorized, based on the key themes they address. Building on this analysis and synthesis a conceptual framework was developed that assists in identifying associated policy levers and their effects on elements of the framework. The end product is a conceptual framework that presents key domains linking agriculture and food systems to nutritional outcomes and public health. The framework is relevant to a range of contexts, for example low-, middle- and high-income settings; and to policymakers wishing to examine the potential direct and indirect impacts of agriculture and food system policies.
    Food Security 05/2015; DOI:10.1007/s12571-015-0473-6 · 1.50 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Family poultry production, which encompasses both extensive and small-scale intensive management systems, is practised by many households in low-income food-deficit countries. Despite low production levels and potentially high losses due to disease, predation and theft, scavenging systems offer the advantage of requiring minimal land, labour and capital inputs. Human undernutrition remains a major public health challenge globally, contributing to over 3 million preventable maternal and child deaths each year. Animal source foods, including poultry (meat and organs) and eggs, can provide high-quality protein and micronutrients in bioavailable forms which, even in small quantities, substantially increase the nutrient adequacy of traditional diets based on staple crops. Women are recognised as key players in family poultry production systems and successful engagement with this sector should incorporate gender-sensitive approaches. It has been shown that agricultural interventions which target women are more likely to lead to positive nutritional outcomes. A multi-disciplinary research approach, multi-sectoral involvement within government institutions and the implementation of policies which target smallholder farmers is needed in order to maximise the potential impact of improvements to family poultry systems on food and nutritional security.
    CAB Reviews Perspectives in Agriculture Veterinary Science Nutrition and Natural Resources 01/2015; 10(13):1-9.
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The need for nutrition-sensitive agriculture is well recognized and of growing interest to global development players. Extension and advisory services (EAS), with their established infrastructure, provide a unique opportunity for nutrition interventions to be implemented at scale with significant reach. To assess current integration of nutrition in EAS, document training provided to EAS agents, and identify challenges and opportunities for the integration of nutrition. A mixed methodology was used, which included a systematic literature review covering the following databases: PubMed, ISI Web of Science, Agris, Google Scholar, Econlit, and IBSS. In addition, online surveys and semistructured key informant interviews with stakeholders were performed. Data were collected between December 2012 and June 2013. Based on this study, the most common integration of nutrition into EAS is through efforts to increase the availability of nutritious food. The nutrition training of extension agents is often inadequate, particularly in the realm beyond technical agricultural skill. Additionally, a lack of career opportunities discourages EAS agents form engaging with nutrition integration. The major challenges to integrating nutrition into EAS centered on lack of training for agents, unclear organizational mandates, lack of female inclusion, lack of mobility, and systemic challenges between agriculture and nutrition sectors. Key opportunities for integration efforts are engaging communities, creating a demand for nutrition, and use of innovative communications. This study demonstrates a large degree of variability across programs in the integration and implementation of nutrition activities into EAS, providing differing opinions on the feasibility of integration. Although the need for nutrition-sensitive agriculture is known, and there is agreement that EAS would provide a positive framework, there are still challenges impeding a simple integration of nutrition into EAS as a delivery platform. © The Author(s) 2015.
    Food and nutrition bulletin 06/2015; 36(2):120-37. DOI:10.1177/0379572115586783 · 1.15 Impact Factor
Show more