Agriculture for improved nutrition: Seizing the momentum
This book (PDF) by IFPRI and CABI strengthens the evidence base for, and expands the vision of, how agriculture can contribute to nutrition. Agriculture’s vast potential to improve nutrition is just beginning to be tapped. New ideas, research, and initiatives developed over the past decade have created an opportunity for reimagining and redesigning agricultural and food systems for the benefit of nutrition. To support this transformation, the book reviews the latest findings, results from on-the-ground programs and interventions, and recent policy experiences from countries around the world that are bringing the agriculture and nutrition sectors closer together. Chapters cover an array of issues that link agriculture and nutrition, including food value chains, nutrition-sensitive programs and policies, government policies, and private sector investments. It may seem obvious that in order to achieve truly nutrition-driven agricultural policies, programs, investments, and strategies, nutrition needs to explicitly be integrated into the design. Yet many ‘nutrition-sensitive’ agricultural interventions or policies do not use clear, measurable nutrition goals as indicators of success. ‘Nutrition driven’ sends the clear message that nutrition outcomes are being proactively included as explicit goals of agricultural programs and interventions. Relevant, nutrition-friendly goals also include achieving gender parity in decision-making power over agricultural resources and household income. Within nutrition-driven programs and policies, nutrition is not merely an afterthought, but rather, a primary, strategic goal. Perhaps the most salient theme of this volume is the need for more evidence. More research is needed on the sustainability of agriculture–nutrition interventions. Closely tied to research is the need for high-quality data. The agricultural and food system is at a crossroads. Pervasive malnutrition, compounded by new challenges such as climate change and urbanization, make the current system untenable. With continued commitment to the agriculture and nutrition nexus, we may soon finally break the cycle of malnutrition for this and future generations.