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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

Allen, Summer; de Brauw, Alan. Global Food Security (March 2018) Vol. 16, pp. 22-28.

To fight the double burden of malnutrition and achieve SGD2, how do we deliver more nutritious foods to populations? This paper argues that we need to improve food systems by improving value chains for micronutrient-rich foods. The study uses a consumer lens to look at value chain interventions that could lead to improved intakes of micronutrient-rich foods, reviews the present literature on the types of value chain assessments, interventions, and initiatives in place, and identifies potential future directions for value chain activities.

Alonsoa, Elena Briones; Cockx, Lara; Swinnen, Johan. Global Food Security (March 2018). Vol. 16.

Using a wide berth of evidence, this paper reviews available cross-disciplinary evidence on how culture affects food security in terms of availability, access and choice, utilization, and stability. While the research identifies a poor understanding of culture’s effects on food security and an imbalance of evidence in favor of high-income countries, the literature shows that how we obtain, process, prepare, and eat food is influenced by culture in various ways. The paper concludes with a recommendation to take culture into account to improve food security policy.

Schreinemachers, Pepijn; Simmons, Emmy B; Wopereis, Marco C.S. Global Food Security (March 2018) Vol. 16, pp. 36-45.

Vegetable production provides a promising economic opportunity for reducing rural poverty and unemployment in low-income countries and cultivates the world’s most affordable source of vitamins and minerals needed for good health. This paper argues for a twofold approach to using vegetables for improved economic and health outcomes: governments need to invest in agricultural processes related to vegetable production, and demand for vegetables needs to be raised through supply-side interventions and behavior change communication stressing the health benefits of vegetable consumption.

Bogard, Jessica R.; Marks, Geoffrey C.; Thilstedd, Shakuntala H.; Wood, Stephen. Global Food Security (March 2018) Vol. 16, pp. 54-64.

As the need to integrate nutrition outcomes into our food systems becomes ever more evident, valuing and measuring nutritional quality of the outputs of agricultural production is essential to make agriculture nutrition sensitive. This paper reviews existing indicators of nutritional quality, comparing and contrasting the strengths and limitations of relevant indicators from the agricultural production stage to selected aquaculture systems. The article identifies a few key indicators for capturing the ability of a production system to nourish the most people, which could be useful for prioritizing investments and decision-making in the public, non-government, and private sectors driving agriculture.

Kranz, Sarah; Masters , William A.; Pedersen, Sarah H.; Rosettie, Katherine; Webb, Patrick et al. Maternal and Child Nutrition (April 2018) Vol. 14 No. 2, pp1-11.

Nutrition‐sensitive interventions to improve overall diet quality are increasingly needed to improve maternal and child health. This study demonstrates the feasibility of a structured process to leverage local expertise in formulating programs tailored for current conditions in South Asia and Africa. Local stakeholders prioritized postharvest food systems to improve access to nutrient‐dense products, production of animal-sourced foods, education and social marketing, and direct transfers to meet food needs. The results demonstrate that a participatory process can help local experts identify their own priorities for future investments.

Hull, Elizabeth; Johnston, Deborah; Kadiyala, Suneetha; Malapit, Hazel J.; Stevano, Sara. Food Policy. (February 2018) In press, pp. 1-11.

Agricultural interventions may fail to improve nutritional outcomes if they do not take account of time constraints, particularly of rural women who spend a considerable portion of their time in agriculture. This review aims to systematically map and assess the available evidence of the agriculture-time use-nutrition pathway. The study finds that women play a key role in agriculture; agricultural interventions tend to increase time commitments in agriculture of the household members for whom impact is measured; changing time use tends to change nutritional outcomes in a range of complex ways.

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

IFPRI, March 2018.

Although the Malawian food supply is shaped largely by trends in smallholder food crop production, Malawi’s decades-long focus on improving smallholder productivity has only moderately improved food security and nutrition outcomes. Indicators of household food insecurity and stunting imply that some Malawian diets are lacking in terms of quantity (total calories consumed), and most are lacking in terms of quality (sufficient calories derived from nutrient-dense foods, such as meat, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, fruits, and vegetables). This report provides a series of primary and secondary data analyses that examine how Malawi can better leverage its smallholder agriculture sector to improve nutrition.

ENN Field Exchange, March 2018.

This synthesis document accompanies three case studies carried out by ENN in 2017 in Senegal, Nepal, and Kenya to document nutrition-sensitive and multi-sector program experiences with a focus on the sub-national level. For practitioners and policymakers working in nutrition, there is limited documentation available on how nutrition-sensitive and multi-sectoral programs are being operationalized, and how these interact with existing institutional architecture and structures at the sub-national level. Adding to this literature, these country case studies are from selected "high achieving" SUN countries with a strong track record in championing and improving undernutrition.

IFPRI, March 2018.

IFPRI's flagship report reviews the major food policy issues, developments, and decisions of 2017, and highlights challenges and opportunities for 2018 at the global and regional levels. This year's report looks at the impacts of greater global integration—including the movement of goods, investment, people, and knowledge—and the threat of current antiglobalization pressures. The 2018 report also presents data tables and visualizations for several key food policy indicators, including country-level data on hunger, agricultural spending and research investment, and projections for future agricultural production and consumption. The report addresses a number of topics related to the current state of agriculture, food security, and nutrition.

IFPRI, February 2018.

This Key Facts sheet is the first in a series that IFPRI will be producing based on the third and fourth Integrated Household Surveys (IHS). The purpose of the series is to present data relevant to key policy issues on agriculture, food systems, and development topics in Malawi, including production and consumption trends, to paint a comprehensive picture of the food security status of the country.

Global Forum on Food Security and Nutrition, March 2018.

This document summarizes the online discussion Sustainable farming systems for food and nutrition security held in the FSN Forum in October-November 2017. Participants were invited to share their views on the role played by the nexus between agriculture, food security and nutrition, and the environment towards advancing the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals. During the discussion, the important role of agriculture as a major provider of environmental services emerged, and conversely the reality that agriculture is also a major consumer of natural resources.

Links to presentations, proceedings, and other meeting materials

Chicago Council on Global Affairs, March 2018.

Convened annually by the Chicago Council’s Global Agricultural Development Initiative, the symposium on global agriculture and food security provides a platform for discussion about the US government and international community’s progress on addressing the problem of food insecurity. This year’s event took place from March 21-22, 2018 in Washington, D.C., and included two days of panels and flash talks centered on the role of youth in agriculture and implications for the economy, food security, and nutrition. Videos and other resources from the event are available at the link below.

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

CGIAR, March 2018.

In 2017, the United Nations World Food Program published a report on a five-country study on how WFP’s Food Assistance for Assets (FFA) work can contribute to empowering women and improving their nutrition. In this blog, a Senior Consultant for WFP, Zalynn Peishi, highlights some of the study’s findings. The study found that FFA can contribute to women’s empowerment and improved women’s nutrition when FAA includes a range of components, including but not limited to transfers, sensitization, and technical training.

ANH Academy, March 2018.

This webinar is part of the series: "Agriculture-Nutrition-Health linkages: Research in the African context" produced by ANH Academy and the African Nutrition Society. The presentation details the Nutrition Links project’s work to improve nutrition and well-being of vulnerable populations in Upper Manya Krobo District (UMKD), an underserved rural district in the Eastern Region of Ghana with high rates of anemia and stunting among young children and women of child-bearing age. To address the challenges to good nutrition, the project identified agriculture-nutrition interventions, supported by capacity building activities in home gardening, health care, nutrition education and poultry.