Leveraging agriculture for nutrition in South Asia
This journal is a special edition of the Food Policy Journal aims to improve understanding about how agriculture and related food policies and programs in South Asia (specifically in India, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan) can be better conceptualised and implemented in order to enhance impacts on nutrition outcomes, especially those of young children and adolescent girls. Despite significant improvements over recent decades, rates of undernutrition remain high in South Asia, with adverse impacts on morbidity and mortality. Overweight/obesity, among children and adults, is now an additional and major public health concern. While agriculture has the potential to improve nutrition through several pathways, this potential is currently not being realised in the region. The journal comprises six articles. The first is on governance of agri-food systems, since political decisions shape policy processes and institutional arrangements that govern the structure and operation of the agri-food system and the downstream eﬀects on nutrition outcome. The second article agues that, considering the scale of investments made in agricultural research and development, the empirical evidence on the impacts on diets and nutrition is neither abundant nor clear. The next paper is an update and synthesis of the impact of household-level interventions in agriculture on nutrition outcomes. Thereafter, the challenge of deepening our understanding of women’s roles in agriculture and nutrition is taken up, and reviews the relationship between women’s agricultural work and time burdens and the nutrition of vulnerable groups. The fifth article examines the process of technological innovations and its effects on improved inputs of seeds, agrochemicals and irrigation leading to food security. Finally, the last article considers how effective governance and policy change can be cultivated in a multi-stakeholder environment.