From agriculture to nutrition
This brief (PDF) by SNV aims to present lessons learned to date in the implementation of nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) activities and their impact on dietary diversity in the target communities. Poor dietary quality, particularly among vulnerable groups, continues to challenge the nutrition targets in Lao PDR. The lessons of the programme so far complement and reiterate the evidence to date in NSA. Agriculture diversity alone will have limited impact on women and infant’s dietary diversity and consideration must be given to income generating activities, market access, intra-household dynamics and social and behaviour change communication (SBCC) strategies to improve dietary and infant and young child feeding practices. Better market linkages could also contribute to an improved food environment where diverse, safe and nutritious foods are available and affordable. While there is not one model that can make agriculture more nutrition sensitive there are many opportunities and entry points for action. Further, NSA does not exist in a silo. Projects and staﬀ working in the agriculture sector will need to collaborate more effectively with other sectors including health, education, water and sanitation in order to address the multi-sectoral causes of malnutrition. The paper comes with a number of recommendations. For development partners and public sector, it is recommended to invest in participatory SBCC resources and actions that involve caregivers as well as influential family members and can address poor complementary feeding. Furthermore, integrated agriculture activities should be aligned with SBCC and vulnerable farming communities have to be included. Investment in better data collection and analysis is needed. For the private sector, strong business cases to incentivise private sector nutrition action has to be developed that links producers to markets. Moreover, investments in infrastructure, technologies and mechanisms to sustainably produce safe and diverse nutritious foods is recommended.
A summary of the brief can be found here.