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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

Sibhatu, Kibrom T., & Quaim, Matin. Food Security. (January 2018) Vol. 10 No.1, pp. 47–59.

Do higher levels of farm production diversity contribute to improved diets in smallholder farm households? This study adds to existing literature by using and comparing different indicators of diet quality, helping to better understand some of the underlying linkages. The analysis builds on data from Indonesia, Kenya, and Uganda to break down assumptions regarding the relationship between production and dietary quality. The results suggest that improving the functioning of agricultural markets and smallholder market access, rather than boosting production diversity, is a key strategy to enhance nutrition.

Faber, Mieke; Kunneke, Ernesta; Sakala, Patricia. Food and Nutrition Bulletin (January 2018) Vol. 39 No. 1, pp. 127-136.

Since 2011, the Integrating Orange Project has promoted production and consumption of orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) to address vitamin A deficiency among rural populations of Zambia. This study assessed household production and consumption of OFSP and identified factors associated with consumption in Integrating Orange Project areas in Chipata district, Zambia. Findings show that programs promoting OFSP consumption should focus on OFSP production and sensitizing households on nutritional benefits of OFSP and should target households with children under age five as the entry point.

Tesfaye, Wondimagegn; Tirivayi, Nyasha. Food Policy (February 2018) Vol. 75, pp. 52-67.

Postharvest loss exacerbates the food insecurity and welfare loss of farming households in developing countries. This paper analyzes the impact of improved storage technologies on food and nutrition security and welfare using nationally representative data from Ethiopia. The study finds that the use of improved storage technologies increases dietary diversity and reduces child malnutrition and self-reported food insecurity and suggests that improved storage technologies can enhance food and nutrition security for a growing population.

Dumas, Sarah E.; Maranga, Abena; Mbullo, Patrick. Food and Nutrition Bulletin (March 2018) Vol. 39 No. 1, pp3-27.

Livestock development programs seek to amplify resilience in low-income communities but often fail to consider the costs to intended beneficiaries or the effect of prevailing gender norms on program implementation. This study used multiple ethnographic techniques to explore perceptions of livestock ownership among female smallholder livestock keepers in Nyanza Region, Kenya. Findings identified that livestock ownership provided improved financial and food security, but also produced major costs to household time and labor. The burden was overwhelmingly borne by women and children, despite women’s relative lack of resource control and influence in decision-making.

Hidrobo, Melissa; Hoddinott, John; Kumar, Neha; Olivier, Meghan. World Development (January 2018). Vol. 101, pp.88-103.

How can social protection programs influence nutrition and food security? This meta-analysis of existing programs in developing regions finds that social protection programs improve both the quantity and quality of food consumed by beneficiaries. Food expenditure rises faster than caloric acquisition because households use transfers to improve the quality of their diet, most notably increasing their consumption of calories from animal source foods. Since the consumption of animal source foods in developing populations is low, and because there are significant nutritional benefits to increasing the consumption of these, this is a positive outcome.

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

Horticulture Innovation Lab and UC Davis, January 2018.

A new annual report is now available from the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Horticulture, with contributions from all of the global network’s research teams. This condensed version of the report highlights how the Horticulture Innovation Lab has used horticulture to increase income generation and reduce malnutrition in emerging economies between October 2016 and October 2017.

SNV, January 2018.

Can the urban agenda play a bigger role in reversing the triple burden of malnutrition and food insecurity? This paper aims to explore this question by exploring the urban poor food environment, considering the complex web of factors throughout the entire food system and across the disciplines of urban planning, waste management, education, agriculture, business, and more.

Institute for Development Studies, February 2018.

Recent discussion has centered on the private sector’s role in nutrition, and whether the state can "shape" the market to deliver better nutritional outcomes. This issue of the IDS Bulletin presents research findings in this area, developed by the consortium of research partners under the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) program. The IDS Bulletin aims to analyze existing (or potential) agri-food value chain pathways for delivering nutritious foods to vulnerable populations in South Asia. It discusses the role of both public and private actors in making these value chains more effective in achieving sustained increased consumption of nutrient-rich foods.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

ANH, February 2018.

This event is the most recent installment of the ANH Academy webinar series “Agriculture-Nutrition-Health linkages: Research in the African Context.” Dr. Robert Fungo of FAO looks in this session at the contribution of forest foods to women’s nutrient intake and household food security in the biodiversity-rich Cameroonian forests. Materials and a webinar recording are available at the link below.

ACDI/VOCA, February 2018.

What do food and market system approaches to development have in common? On February 22, the webinar, “Balancing the Systems: Making Food and Market Systems Work for Nutrition,” hosted by ACDI/VOCA and its affiliate Agribusiness Systems International (ASI), explored where the two systems overlap, and how understanding what they have in common may improve the way both systems function. Panelists explored topics from macro trends in food security to urbanization’s effect on nutrition-sensitive programming and more.

Tufts, February 2018.

This event brought together leading faculty members from Boston University, Harvard, MIT, and Tufts to share their most important new work towards healthier and more sustainable food systems. The speed talk format allowed participants to make new connections across Boston-area schools and types of research spanning a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives. The speaker list, available at the link below, reflects the range and depth of recent discoveries about agriculture and the environment, food systems, health, and well-being in the United States and worldwide.

IFPRI, February 2018.

How can investments in agriculture best target positive nutrition outcomes? This event aimed to raise attention to the many entry points the food systems offer as well as the numerous opportunities for investments to positively impact nutrition. The policy seminar focused on how investments can be best nudged to improve nutrition, specifically exploring healthy food system investments tailored to specific contexts and nutrition-sensitive agricultural investments.

GAIN, January 2018.

To mark the 15th Anniversary of the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN), GAIN Nordic and the United Nations World Food Program’s Nordic Office held a conference entitled Nourishing the SDGs. The conference highlighted the importance of nutrition to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and of engaging in partnerships to improve nutrition. Materials from the event are now available at the link below.

International Trade Center, January 2018.

The label of inclusive agribusiness is increasingly applied to development projects and policy strategies across the world. But the notion of “doing no harm” in a system as complex as the agri-food sector is not so straightforward. The International Trade Centre (ITC) showed this to their staff and other development practitioners in a recent three-day training unpacking the complexity and context-based nature of food systems. Resources from the training are available at the link below.

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

Secure Nutrition, February 2018.

Over the past 50 years, understandings of the best ways to combat malnutrition among women and children globally have changed, along with the technology that exists to fight it. The IMMANA-funded "Using Information Communication Technologies" (ICTs) project seeks to understand the relationships between labor-saving agricultural innovations, women’s time use and maternal and child nutrition outcomes in rural Uganda. Reflecting on early lessons learned from the project, this blog calls for a viable alternative to recall methods for diet and time use data collection in rural low-income communities, which could be a game-changer in the field of nutrition-sensitive agriculture.