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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

The American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, IFPRI E-brary, December 2016.

This journal article investigates the extent of children’s exposure to animal feces and whether this exposure is associated with child anthropometry. Using diverse, large samples of data from the Alive and Thrive study conducted in rural areas of Ethiopia, Bangladesh, and Vietnam, animal feces were positively associated with household livestock ownership and negatively associated with maternal and child cleanliness. The results of this article contribute to a growing body of evidence suggesting that animal ownership may pose a significant risk to child nutrition and health outcomes in developing countries.

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

Wageningen University and Research.

The objectives of this online course are to understand the definitions of food systems, value chains, food security, nutrition security and their interconnectedness; be able to apply conceptual frameworks to ensure nutrition-sensitive agricultural development programs and policies; formulate or adjust the design and implementation of agricultural development programs and policies to enhance the impact on nutrition; and to be able to apply tools for developing and monitoring programs and policies, including selecting relevant indicators for nutritional impact.

Food and Agriculture Organization, February 2017.

The Food Chain Crisis prevention system is the Food and Agriculture Organization’s response to the increasing number of food chain emergencies, which bring unprecedented challenges to food security, livelihoods, human health, and local, national, and global economies. Controlling transboundary animal and plant pests and diseases and food safety incidents contributes to several SDGs. The 23 practices illustrated here show how better coordination makes a difference in people’s lives and livelihoods. The multidisciplinary, collaborative, and integrated approach encouraged by the tool ensures that information about threats to our food is shared with all people involved from farm to table before the threats can spread and cross borders.

Feed the Future, January 2017.

This Snapshot focuses on Feed the Future’s 24 Innovation Labs it has managed with support from over 70 top U.S. universities, as well as partner research and educational institutions. The labs work to research, develop, and take to scale safe and effective technologies that address current and future challenges posed by a changing climate and the need to feed a growing global population. They also provide short- and long-term training to support the sustainability of these efforts.

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, February 2017.

Trends and Challenges sheds light on the nature of the challenges that agriculture and food systems are facing now and throughout the 21st century. While extreme poverty and hunger have drastically reduced since the 1990s, environmental shifts, changing production trends, and a growing population have led researchers to conclude that without additional efforts to promote pro-poor development, reduce inequalities, and protect vulnerable people, more than 600 million people will still be undernourished in 2030 at the current rates. To address the challenges that stand in the way of meeting the Sustainable Development Goal for elimination of global poverty and hunger by 2050, the report calls for major transformations in agricultural systems, in rural economies, and in management of natural resources.

Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services, January 2017.

Rural advisory services are a possible channel for improving nutrition in rural communities because of their ability to improve household practices through consistent service provision and far-reaching networks. Although leveraging these services for improved nutrition is not a new concept, questions remain on how to best deliver nutrition-sensitive agricultural services to rural households through them. The Nutrition Working Group (NWG) provides a central forum for Rural Advisory Services actors to create, share, and promote good practices on this topic that will inform their own practices and policy at all levels.

Chicago Council, February 2017.

Part of a new series on food security, this blog post outlines challenges of linking agricultural development to nutrition. The review outlines the decline of hunger and poverty, persistent challenges (especially in nutrition and agriculture), and global action and future challenges facing the field.

Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, February 2017.

The Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition presented its Foresight report, which examines the extent to which food systems are delivering healthy diets today and their sustainability, at the Second International Conference on Nutrition (ICN2). The report shows that unless policymakers act decisively to control diet-related disease and accelerate efforts to reduce undernutrition, all countries will pay a heavy price in terms of mortality, physical health, mental well-being, economic losses, and degradation of the environment. The report concludes with recommendations for senior leaders worldwide relating to public health and well-being, mental health development, education, economic development, urbanization, globalization, and demography.

GAIN, February 2017.

Sheryl L. Hendriks of the University of Pretoria comments on designing food systems, and an expanding understanding of nutrition that considers hidden hunger and the food environment. She calls for innovation at all stages of the food system to deliver more nutrition per unit at affordable prices, which will require collective responsibility of the private sector and consumers. Researchers need to characterize what a healthy food environment consists of in order to develop accountability systems to shape future food systems for delivering better nutrition.

The Chicago Council, February 22, 2017.

When looking to dramatically and sustainably scale-up agricultural production to meet the food and nutrition demands of the burgeoning global population, it is clear that the ingenuity, entrepreneurship, and human capital of youth are essential. In turn, agriculture can provide gainful and fulfilling employment to a large proportion of disenfranchised young people in low- and middle-income countries. Suggested ways to engage youth in agriculture include expanding agribusinesses, easing access to land, developing markets for land rental, creating financial systems to benefit young entrepreneurs, and establishing extension programs and educational opportunities.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

International Life Sciences Institute, January 2017.

Drivers of food choice in low- and middle-income countries were explored in the ILSI Research Foundation Scientific Session on January 23, 2017, with presentations from experts who shared their research and perspectives on how to address changes in food systems. Diets in poor, urban areas are currently changing, reflecting the growth of the proportion of the global population living in cities, as well as an increased number of women entering the workforce seeking time and labor saving food options.

Secure Nutrition, January 26, 2017.

Secure Nutrition and the World Bank Group hosted author and IFPRI Senior Researcher Dr. Harold Alderman to outline the logic for prioritizing nutrition-sensitive programs in the current development landscape. Dr. Alderman discussed how safety nets—which support some 1.9 billion people worldwide—can help achieve global nutrition and poverty targets. The presentation concluded that nutrition- sensitive social and behavior change programming can impact malnutrition, but requires investment and coordination, necessitating the strengthening of health and nutrition services and proper training of providers.

Feed the Future, December 7-9, 2016.

Feed the Future highlights an INGENAES training on integrating gender within agricultural value chain and agro-enterprise initiatives held December 7-9, 2016 at Mukono Zonal Agricultural Research and Development Institute (MUZARDI) in Mukono, Uganda. The goal of the workshop was to build capacity and provide critical technical assistance to Farmer Based Organizations (FBOs) to purposely integrate gender and nutrition concerns within their existing and planned agroenterprise initiatives. The training concluded with participants drawing up a list of action items to implement in their communities and organizations, including the creation of strategic plans to integrate gender and nutrition, conducting nutrition trainings, and sensitizing/education community leaders and board members to the role of gender in nutrition-related activities.