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Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review

The Agriculture and Nutrition Resource Review is a monthly selection of materials to keep you updated on research and developments related to strengthening linkages between agriculture and nutrition. Resources from this month’s review are featured below. To see materials from earlier editions, or to view resources from across SPRING's technical areas, visit the Resource Review.

Interested in a broader perspective? You can find interesting resources from across SPRING’s technical areas in the Resource Review

Reports, Tools, and Other Related Materials
A diverse collection of programmatic materials and news

Department for International Development (DFID), March 2014

This comprehensive, 50+ page report provides perspective from DFID UK on the effectiveness of using agricultural activities to achieve nutrition outcomes. A literature review drawing primarily from experience across Africa and Asia forms the basis for much of the report, with an analysis organized by intervention type: home gardens, aquaculture, livestock, cash cropping, and biofortification. While the report echoes many other reports identifying the gaps in the agriculture-nutrition evidence base, it does highlight the relevance of two emerging research areas: aflatoxin control and food-price policies.

PBS News Hour,  May 2014

This short news article from the Associated Press touches on how a deadly coffee fungus may impact Arabica coffee supplies in Central America. The focus is on the U.S. market in particular, and directly quotes the concerns of USAID head administrator Rajiv Shah. Of chief concern is how this disease will affect small holder farmers and their economic stability.  

Save the Children (March 2014)

This report examines the relationship between agriculture and nutrition in developing countries, focusing on how nutrition is currently prioritised within agricultural policy frameworks, from the global to the district level. It suggests ways in which nutrition-sensitive interventions could be implemented through existing government policies and governance structures. The findings are based on an assessment of agricultural policies in 15 African countries, alongside CAADP plans from 18 African countries.

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (March 2014)

To inform the post-2015 agenda, the Gates Foundation has produced a 12-page document outlining its rationale to include sustainable agriculture, food security, and nutrition. Six targets—such as 50% reduction in stunting by 2030—are proposed. 

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2014)

This 2-volume report by the IPCC provides a global update on the causes and impacts of climate change. Among other key perspectives, Section 7 deals with food security, and notes impacts on both aquatic and land-based food sources. Collective research yields high confidence that food access, utilization, and price stability are all affected by climate change.

Save the Children (2014)

This brief recognizes the need and the opportunities for fathers to play a positive role in domestic issues, child health, and overall development. It includes short vignettes of existing programs working to integrate men, along with a list of resources to assist programs in engaging fathers.

World Bank and the ONE Campaign, March 2014

A collaborative report that identifies factors responsible for low-productivity among female-managed farms in Africa, with a particular focus on Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Tanzania, and Uganda. This document is geared towards government-level readers and includes new survey data, country-by-country reviews, and appealing visuals.

Responding to global grabs for patents on agricultural seeds, the University of Wisconsin has launched the Open Source Seed Initiative, aiming to keep certain seed varietals under a common-use license – similar to the ones used by certain open-source software or music formats. While the legal strength of this initiative is not yet clear, proponents still feel it’s an important step in educating farmers and the broader public about the importance of maintaining seeds as a shareable resource.

Online Community Corner
Discussions and resources from communities of practice and professional networks

CGIAR/IFPRI - AN4H, May 2014

The Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (AN4H) research program recently produced a short video featuring senior researcher Jody Harris (IFPRI), as she talks through the agriculture-to-nutrition pathways laid out by fellow researchers. With simple animations sprinkled throughout, this video makes for an approachable staging of a complex concept.


WASHPlus The March 2014 edition of the WASH/Nutrition Literature Update included a wide range of articles, with WASH/nutrition studies focused on Bangladesh, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Nepal, and more. There is also new research around the developing field of ‘environmental enteropathy’, and on linkages between child infection and malnutrition.

Ag2Nut Community of Practice and Food Security Information Network

On March 23, 2014, the Ag2Nut Community of Practice and Food Security Information Network (FSIN) continued its discussion on what is needed for global monitoring of adequate food, focused on the need for appropriate indicators of adequate nutritious food, as well as some current efforts to develop such indicators. This call picked up where the conversation left off on the February call: identifying efforts to develop and use indicators on this topic. 

Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition

The Global Forum is hosting an online discussion through May 6th, in order to gather country examples of ‘Care Farming’ that can be analyzed by FAO and its partners to develop programming tools. Contribute your thoughts and experience, in English, French, or Spanish.  

Research Articles
Recent findings from academic and peer-reviewed journals

Masters, W.A., Webb, P., Griffiths, J.K., and Deckelbaum, R.J. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences (February 2014)

This paper proposes a typology of interventions and a metric of integration among them to help researchers build on each other's results, facilitating integration in methods to inform the design of multisector interventions. The typology recognizes the importance of regional effect modifiers that are not themselves subject to randomized assignment, and trade-offs in how policies and programs are implemented, evaluated, and scaled. Using this typology could facilitate methodological pluralism, helping researchers in one field use knowledge generated elsewhere, each using the most appropriate method for their situation.

Webb, P and Kennedy, E. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. (March 2014) Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 126-131

Examining 10 papers published since 2000 to synthesize current evidence of agriculture-to-nutrition linkages, this paper finds empirical evidence of the impact of agricultural interventions on nutrition outcomes to be scarce. The authors suggest the absence of evidence should not be equated with evidence of no impact, owing primarily to weaknesses in study design. An unpacking of the broad domains of agriculture and nutritional status are needed for future analysis to meaningfully inform future policy and programmatic decisions. 

Jin, M. and Iannotti, L.L. Social Science & Medicine, (March 2014) Vol. 105 pp. 16-21.

Along with lack of nutrition knowledge, gender dimensions may affect the pathways leading from livestock ownership to child animal source food intake and ultimately to young child growth. Using data from a large-scale impact evaluation conducted in Kenya, this study tested the hypothesis that co-owned/female-owned livestock would be associated with improved child growth, mediated by increases in animal source food consumption. Multivariate linear regression models showed a positive association between co-owned/female-owned livestock with child weight-for-age z score (WAZ) after adjusting for caregiver education level, income, child age and gender.

Singh, A., Singh, A., Ram, F. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. (March 2014) Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 3-11.

This paper examines the association between food insecurity and nutritional status of children and married women in Nepal using DHS data. There is a significant association between food insecurity and malnutrition among children in Nepal. Among women, food insecurity is associated with underweight (BMI 18.5 kg/m2) but not with overweight (BMI ≥ 25.0 kg/m2).

Amagloh, F.K. Coad, J. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. (March 2014) Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 51-59.

This study looked at nutrient composition of complementary foods based on orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP), cream-fleshed sweet potato (CFSP), maize–soybean– groundnut (Weanimix), and a proprietary wheat-based infant cereal (Nestlé Cerelac). Additionally, the costs of OFSP complementary food, CFSP complementary food, and Weanimix production at the household level were estimated.  All formulations met Codex Standard nutrient density standards and estimated production cost of OFSP complementary food was slightly higher (1.5 times) than that of Weanimix.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials


Access event resources from the second SPRING, TOPS, and USAID webinar in a three-part series, Women's Empowerment and Men's Engagement: How a Focus on Gender Can Support Agriculture and Nutrition. Hazel Malapit, a Research Coordinator in IFPRI's Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division, discussed her recent paper Women's Empowerment in Agriculture, Production Diversity, and Nutrition, highlighting household survey data from Nepal. Karin Lapping, Senior Director of Nutrition at Save the Children, responded to the findings as they relate to her in-depth understanding of the nutrition landscape in Nepal.


See all resources from the 2014 Feed the Future Innovation Lab Council Partners Workshop, held March 10-11 in Kathmandu, Nepal. The Workshop centered on the theme of “Scaling Up Agricultural Research and Technologies and Designing Research for Improved Nutritional Outcomes”. Over 80 participants – members of the Innovation Lab community and USAID/Washington and mission staff – joined in a robust series of plenary sessions with plenty of time for discussion and networking. 

A Look Back
Seminal literature with lasting relevance

Behrman, Jere R. Journal of Development Economics. (January-February 1984) Vol. 14, No. 1, pp. 105-128.

This article appeared in a series of publications examining social, economic, and demographic roles of women in Nicaragua, and echoes many of the same questions that face us today regarding links between income and nutrition.