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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

Research Articles
Recent findings from academic and peer-reviewed journals

Kamara, J.K. and Renzaho, A. African Journal of Food, Agriculture, Nutrition and Development. (July 2014) Vol. 1, No. 4, pp. 9016-9038.

The authors of this extensive review argue that achieving food security in Uganda is an effective means of curtailing civil strife, violence, and insecurity. The paper examines how the certain macro-economic indicators, as well as globalizing food markets, have had harmful impacts on local food prices in Uganda–including a reported 432% increase in the cost of beans (100kg) between 2007 and 2011. 

Phuong, H., Nga, TT., Mathisen, R., Nguyen, M., et al. Food and Nutrition Bulletin. (June 2014) Vol. 35, pp. 52S-56S.

According to the authors, over 200,000 cases of severe acute malnutrition occur in Vietnam each year. Their research details the development and success of a locally-developed ‘Ready-to-Use Therapeutic Food’ (RUTF), and its role in a broader program to fight acute malnutrition. The authors report success in treating children and in enabling local production of the RUTF to enable scale up.

Jere D. Haas, J.D., Rahn, M., Venkatramanan, S. et al. The Journal of Nutrition. (April 2014) Vol. 144 No. 6, pp. 957-964.

This double blind, randomized control trial in India demonstrated that double-fortified salt is an efficacious approach to improving iron status and should be further evaluated for effectiveness in the general population. 

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

Feed the Future, July 2014

The July 2014 edition of the Feed the Future Newsletter features stories on how the initiative is working to improve nutrition through the U.S. President’s Initiative. Read about efforts in Uganda to improve nutrition through food processing and training future nutrition leaders, political commitment to nutrition in Honduras, integrating nutrition and agriculture in Bangladesh and more. 

SPRING, July 2014

This report provides a snapshot of activities among Feed the Future’s 19 focus countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America, and the Caribbean in 2012-2013. Guided by the "Key Pathways between Agriculture and Nutrition" framework, this landscape analysis mapped current interventions and pathways linking agriculture and nutrition and developed several key observations following six "Guiding Principles for Linking Agriculture and Nutrition," as synthesized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Food and Agriculture Organization, July 2014

This review begins by teasing out the differences between food insecurity and nutrition insecurity and moves on to examine research linking early life undernutrition and later risk of obesity in select low- and middle-income countries. Studies were selected for their use of experience-based food insecurity scales, and examined in relation to nutrition outcomes – moving along the line from stunting and wasting to overweight and obesity. 

The Guardian, June 2014

This article details the differences in product-related research and development among food, agricultural, and pharmaceutical sectors and how this might relate to framing a conversation around returns on investment for nutritious products. The piece also describes how the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) has been working with major companies to link public health research with commercial applications.

Governments of the United Kingdom and Malawi, July 2014

This website follows on to the Nutrition for Growth Summit held in London in 2013 and includes resources related to the Global Nutrition Report, expected in November. The report will draw on country governments, SUN, WHO, UNICEF, FAO, WFP, and others to fill critical gaps around the world. This effort is closely tied to the rapidly increasing availability of machine readable data and a need to ensure its collection and reporting remains transparent, regular, and relevant. 

New York Times, July 2014

This article examines the vexing question of why Indian children from relatively well-off families with an ample supply of the nutritious food needed for a healthy diet still suffer from malnutrition. New research bolsters a growing body of evidence linking WASH and nutrition, suggesting that energy that might otherwise contribute to growth and development is diverted to fight infection.

Transform Nutrition, April 2014

Working to update their previous IFPRI work, “Explaining Child Malnutrition in Developing Countries” (2000), Lisa Smith and Lawrence Haddad draw on data from 1970-2012 across 116 countries to get at the basic question: what drives undernutrition? After examining both basic and underlying determinants of undernutrition, they find important factors include WASH, women’s education & empowerment, quantity & quality of food, income growth, and governance. They also conclude with the importance of occasional “big picture” views of global nutrition, using an expanding evidence base outside of randomized trials to determine key action points.

InterPress Service News Agency, July 2014

In Egypt, less than 5 percent of land is suitable for agriculture. To meet growing demand, aquaculture will need to come together with agriculture to increase food production per unit of land and water. Lean how a "fish first" approach can lead to greater food production in both field and fish farms.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

Agrilinks, July 2014

This #AskAg Twitter Chat featured a conversation on linking agriculture and nutrition with USAID, the 1000 Days Initiative, and the SPRING Project. Experts from each organization provided insights into why agriculture and nutrition programming can go hand in hand, what challenges face program designers and implementers, and the role that USAID's new Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy plays in addressing these efforts.

Feed the Future Horticulture Innovation Lab, July 2014

This forum discussion focused on the relationship between horticulture and nutrition, including highlights of how the Horticulture Innovation Lab's research has related to nutrition during the program's first five years. Presentations included projects focused on African indigenous vegetables and orange- and purple-fleshed sweet potatoes and a facilitated discussion about future directions, particularly around how to better incorporate nutrition into horticultural research projects.

Agrilinks, July 2014

This webinar featured the authors of USAID’s Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy outlining key aspects of the strategy, focusing on its practical relevance to agricultural development practitioners. The discussion included the roll-out of nutrition-sensitive principles in Feed the Future zones of influence and explained how USAID is looking at the nutrition-agriculture nexus differently.

Microlinks, June 2014

This MPEP Seminar Series event featured a presentation from Richard Kohl, a scaling expert currently assisting USAID Bureaus and Missions in thinking about how to scale technologies and innovations within the context of Feed the Future. This presentation focuses on a view of market systems as platforms for shifting from scaling, as defined by more time and resources, to a more sustainable, population-scale approach.

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

Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, July 2014

Capitalizing on the ‘Year of Family Farming’ (UN General Assembly), the Global Forum is hosting a moderated online conversation centered around the role of nutrition education within the context of family farming. The goal is to gather ideas, perspective, and evidence from practitioners and researchers alike, and identify action points where education can both improve the diet of family farmers, and help create demand for nutritious foods in local markets.

WASHplus, July 2014

This update from the WASHplus community includes a special emphasis on the intersection between WASH and nutrition. Relevant webinars and reports from USAID, FHI360, JSI, Wash Advocates, and more, can be found here, including link to a systematic review of the impacts of drinking water and sanitation on diarrheal disease.

World Bank, July 2014

This e-Update from SecureNutrition contains information on the Hunger and Nutrition Commitment Index, Harvesting Nutrition winners, and articles from DFID, the Food Security Information Network, and the Journal of Nutrition. Also included are links to two agriculture-nutrition RFAs announced by a DFID-Gates Foundation collaboration.

A Look Back
Seminal literature with lasting relevance

Victor S. Doherty. Socioeconomic Constraints to Development of Semi-Arid Tropical Agriculture. (February 1979) pp. 107-119 

Three-and-a-half decades old, this ICRISTAT-led study looked at how cross-cultural studies of group size and function could be used to promote the spread of improved land management and irrigation practices. The findings are presented in a summary document from a 4-day symposium held in Hyderabad, India, and seek to blend an anthropological approach with economic and agronomic insights in order to spread specific technologies to farmers in semi-arid regions. Those looking for a challenge can try to find the follow-on research referenced by the author in his conclusions.

Austin, J., Fox, J., Kruger, W. World Development. (January 1985) Vol. 13, No. 1. pp. 15-40 

There is currently a lot of discussion around the role of food systems in better framing agriculture and nutrition within the context of producers, retailers, consumers, and a range of environmental influences. As with many hot topics, the idea is certainly not new. This 25-page article, a collaborative effort between major US universities Harvard and MIT, comes from the mid-1980’s, and takes a look at food system change in relation to massive political change.