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. DOI: 10.1177/156482651303400105
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.

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    • "Many factors contribute to nutritional outcomes, among them agricultural performance. In a recent review, Haddad (2013) highlights several key pathways that link improvements in agriculture to improvements in nutrition. These include higher incomes, lower food prices, more nutritious on-farm production and consumption, and synergies between agriculture and nutrition arising from women's empowerment. "
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    ABSTRACT: This article investigates empirical connections between agriculture and child nutrition in Nepal. We augment the standard approach to explaining child nutrition outcomes by including information about household level agricultural production characteristics, including indicators of agricultural diversity. Data from the 2010/2011 Nepal Living Standards Survey (NLSS) are used in a series of regression models to explain stunting outcomes and variation in height-for-age Z-scores among 1,769 children 0–59 months of age. Results highlight the relative importance of overall agricultural yields, specific crop groups, and the consumption of own-production as factors correlated with long-term nutrition among children of different age groups. We find a small positive association between the degree of commercial market-orientation of households and child HAZ, but only among children under 24 months of age.
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    • "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. "
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