Supporting nutrition-sensitive agriculture through neglected and underutilized species
This book (PDF) by IFAD presents a new operational framework that sets out how using a diversified range of crop species and varieties can put nutrition back into our food production system. Agrobiodiversity is a resource that supports human and environmental wellbeing. Neglected and underutilized species (NUS) and the traditional knowledge of Indigenous Peoples associated with the use of NUS and wild edibles are important for fighting food and nutrition insecurity, especially in the context of climate change. Both factors have the potential to promote and enhance a sustainable and nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) and associated livelihood outcomes. Investing in NSA is not just a social good, it contributes to sound development and good economics. Impact pathways include resilient production, income generation and healthy consumption. Key mediators of impact are women’s empowerment and nutrition awareness among consumers. Species and crop selection must be subject to the free, prior and informed consent of all to fully understand the environmental and gender impact. The selection of crops and species for nutritional value must meet the challenge of adaptation to climate change. There is a need to strengthen the evidence base on the contribution of NUS within nutrition-sensitive agriculture and at the same time reinforce capacities and generation of knowledge for design, implementation and monitoring for management, evaluation and advocacy. Developing a holistic and nutrition-sensitive approach involving neglected and underutilized species requires an unprecedented building of supportive structures, knowledge systems, cooperation and partnerships with communities such as Indigenous Peoples as well as women and Youth.