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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

Kuyper, E., Engle-Stone, R., Arsenault, J., Arimond, M., Adams, K., & Dewey, K. (2017). Dietary gap assessment: An approach for evaluating whether a country’s food supply can support healthy diets at the population level. Public Health Nutrition, 20(13), 2277-2288. doi:10.1017/S1368980017001173

This assessment explains a method developed to assess whether a country’s food supply can support healthy diets at the population level, based on an understanding of what constitutes a diverse diet. Using Cameroon as a test country, the researchers used the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to designate a healthy diet, which they examined against food availability data from the FAO Food Balance Sheet. The data showed that dairy and animal source foods were not adequately available to meet healthy diet recommendations, while the availability of fruits and vegetables varied. This article argues that the dietary gap assessment illustrates an approach for better understanding how food supply patterns need to change to achieve healthier dietary patterns.

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

FANRPAN, July 2017.

The recently launched ATONU tool can help development practitioners identify and select nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions for their projects. Beginning with the identification of a farming system that resembles the project in question, the user can select a category of NSIs and further identify specific interventions. Interventions have been ranked by the ATONU team with their perceived level of impact on agriculture, gender, and nutrition. Once identified, the ATONU Team can assist with the design of the appropriate NSIs for a project.

INGENEAS, August 2017.

IGENENAES presents a framework to promote the skills, attitudes, and behaviors (SABs) needed at the individual level to deliver gender- and nutrition-informed agricultural extension services. The framework lays out a list of SABs, creates a menu of options for organizations to determine their level of support to frontline extension staff, and provides training session objectives for each SAB based on topic and level of engagement. The framework supports AES in their ability to increase production and supply of nutritious foods. Prospective users of this framework include non-governmental organizations, government agencies, universities, research institutions, farmer based organizations, private for profit input or service providers.

ILSI Research Foundation, July 2017.

In efforts to provide a growing population with a sufficient quantity of healthy and nutritious foods, fortification has risen as a solution. However, rice fortification has yet to take hold in much of the world, especially Africa. This report shares a desk review of the current health situation, rice production and distribution systems, and potential partners in ten countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Synthesizing preliminary health and food security data with literature on rice value chains, this study explores the obstacles to adoption of fortified rice. The review concludes that while these countries have highly fragmented rice value chains and limited technical capacity to process rice (fortified or otherwise) at a large, reliable scale, government procurement and distribution channels are recommended as the best method of distribution.

World Vision, July 2017.

World Vision recently conducted a study to assess prevailing practices in management of agricultural demos across food security programs with the aim of developing guidelines for improving the management of demos. The study explored the costs of demonstrations, difficulties in planning, stakeholder engagement, sustainability, and gender integration. The study discusses the impacts of demonstrations for not only agriculture, income, and nutrition, and provides guidance on support and structures. The report concludes with a call for more research on best practices and the impact of different agricultural demos on adoption, especially in relation to timing.

AgReach, University of Illinois, July 2017.

The Modernizing Extension and Advisory Services (MEAS), a $9.5M AgReach project funded by USAID, was active from 2010-2016. Overall, the MEAS project contributed to significant impacts on extension systems, organizations, individual actors, and farmers while increasing the prominence of extension on the international agricultural development and food security agenda. Over 60 institutions and programs are using MEAS training modules and manuals and MEAS materials have been accessed online on over 270,000 times. In total, the MEAS project used this approach to reach over 11 million farmers. Though no longer active as a project, related and subsequent AgReach projects have built off of MEAS's foundations. All MEAS publications, extension tools, learning modules, and the rest of our resource library are now available for public use on their website.

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

How can the public and private sector work together to improve nutrition? This Global Panel policy brief provides evidence-based recommendations for food system actors to enhance consumer behavior, which can lead to better nutrition outcomes. By focusing on demand-side policies that influence behavior change, particularly consumer education, the brief lays out what governments can do to enable the transition to healthier, high-quality diets in a wide range of settings. The brief recommends that policymakers consider establishing national standards for healthy, high-quality diets, educating consumers about healthier dietary choices, and improving access to higher-quality diets for low-income consumers.

Action Against Hunger, July 2017.

In their latest report, Action Against Hunger promotes agroecology in food security and nutrition, rural and agriculture development, and climate change adaptation and mitigation to ensure a sustainable future. Through its positive impact on income generation, employment, food production, processing, consumption and dietary diversification, agroecology is naturally a facilitator of nutrition-sensitive agriculture. Action Against Hunger champions agroecology as the best option to build good nutrition for all, especially when taking into account climate change and higher risks of natural disasters and extreme weather events.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

July 2017.

Celebrating seven years of the TOPS Program, the final TOPS/FSN Network Knowledge Sharing Meeting was held on July 19-20, 2017 in Washington, DC. Over 200 implementers, donors, and researchers from over 60 organizations attended to look backward at the TOPS accomplishments and the community of practice’s innovations and lessons learned, and also looked forward to ways in which the food security and nutrition community can keep advancing in the years to come. View session recordings, an event agenda, and publications at the link below.

Agrilinks, July 2017.

This July webinar delved into the applied research of three Feed the Future Innovation Labs and their contributions to on-the-ground development impact. Leaders from the Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Nutrition, Soybean, and Reduction of Post-Harvest Loss presented examples of how U.S. universities are leading the development of tools and innovations that support smallholder farming communities and other actors within agricultural value chains. View the webinar recording, slides, transcripts, and more at the following link:

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

Agrilinks, August 2017.

The authors reflect on the first year of the Global Food Security Strategy under Feed the Future, taking into consideration renewed investment in resilience, sustainability, nutrition, and market systems. Coordination and collaboration between the public and private sector are also highlighted as essential actions to facilitate inclusive and sustainable agriculture-led economic growth. Strengthening commercial pathways can make agriculture production more efficient, provide a more nutritious product, and increase incomes, all while meeting the GFSS mandate on sustainability and scaling. This blog post introduces five case studies conducted by USAID to assess the key drivers of successful scaling of pro-poor agricultural innovations through commercial pathways.

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, July-August 2017.

What scientific and engineering advances can elevate the power of food and agriculture research? This competition calls for the scientific community to “describe a novel approach to solving problems and creating opportunities for food and agriculture.” The project is seeking 2-3 page white papers that describe scientific opportunities in more detail. Contributors of ideas to the Challenge platform will be acknowledged in a final report, which is expected to be released in spring of 2018. To get more details and learn how to contribute, view the link below:

Feed the Future Enabling Environment for Food Security Project, Agrilinks, August 2017.

Continuing a series on practical tools and approaches to address enabling environment constraints to food security, this Feed the Future blog examines the World Bank’s Enabling the Business of Agriculture Index (EBA) as a data based tool to inform food security reform efforts. This data can help identify key challenges, generate momentum for reform and serve as a source of transparency and accountability for results. Used properly, the EBA has strong potential to contribute to systemic reforms that can magnify and solidify food security gains under the Global Food Security Strategy moving forward, better facilitating nutrition-sensitive results. The post includes a Q&A of the tool and directs users to its key features.