P1.2. Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition


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  • Shows the different pathways which link agricultural practices or interventions (in green) with nutrition-related outcomes (in yellow) either directly or indirectly via agricultural impacts on household and national economic outcomes (in orange). Capturing data along a particular pathway can provide evidence of these linkages. Measurements of ‘nutritional status’ using anthropometry or biomarkers can be seen as the end point of a pathway of research, providing the strongest evidence that agriculture affects nutritional outcomes. Less strong evidence is provided by measurements of ‘food consumption and intake’, e.g. dietary diversity, individual food and nutrient intake and infant and young feeding practices. Finally, changes in the ‘food environment’, e.g. the availability, affordability, acceptability and nutritional quality of food locally, can be used as evidence of potential nutritional impact on the basis that food access is a determinant of consumption. The food environment is conceptualized as a critical direct link between changes in agriculture and changes in consumption which affect nutrition.If nutritional impacts can be considered the end point of this ‘research chain’, agricultural practices or interventions constitute the start. These may relate to changes in ‘agricultural inputs’, e.g. new crop varieties such as biofortified crops, ‘agricultural practices’ such as home gardening or the ‘food value chain’ meaning the mechanisms by which agricultural outputs reach the consumer in the form of nutritious food products via storage, processing, distribution and retail systems.The orange boxes capture the indirect impacts or intervening factors  affecting both agriculture and nutrition in a given local context. For example, changes in both agricultural practices and the food environment can increase farm incomes, allowing farming household to buy more, and more healthy foods, while increased production generally will reduce prices making healthy foods more affordable to consumers. Agriculture can also contribute to national economic growth which might improve access to health care and education and ultimately health and education status and wellbeing. Health status also links back to nutritional status through, for example, the effects of infectious disease such as diarrhoea or HIV on nutrition.Finally, around the borders of the conceptual framework, broader or ‘macro-level’ factors which can influence agricultural practices and nutritional outcomes are presented. These include; policy and governance; culture, gender and equity; climate and environment; and the political and economic context.
  • Conceptual framework can be ‘run’ for different projects to illustrate the extent to which a piece of research considers the different pathways and links between agriculture and nutrition.Boxes shaded in blue indicate where elements of pathway not considered by the projectRAIN (IFPRI project http://www.ifpri.org/book-741/node/8349) includes research and measurement on almost all elements of the conceptual framework
  • IDRC Ni-Can-Veg project focuses research and measurement on the agricultural components of the framework and the food environment.Not a judgement of a project but a description. Can see what other information might be required to complete research chain by other research.
  • Main research categories & themes
  • P1.2. Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition

    1. 1. Research on Agriculture for Improved Nutrition• Background • Potential for agricultural change to improve nutrition and... • Increasing interest in agriculture-nutrition but... • Evidence base poor - 2 systematic reviews (Masset et al, 2011, Girard et al, 2012) reveal little evidence of impact & a need for more & better designed research • Need to determine pattern, design & direction of current research to inform future funding• DFID commission: • Mapping and gap analysis of current and planned research • Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) • Centre for Sustainable International Development (CSID) at University of Aberdeen • Report submitted August 2012
    2. 2. Methodology/ Research Process• Conceptual framework linking agriculture, food and nutrition• Template for data collection & inclusion criteria• List of relevant organisations to contact (n=135)• Final list of eligible projects (n=151)• Completion of template – project team &/or researchers• Mapping and gap analysis.• Information collected between April and August 2012.• Overseen by Expert Panel
    3. 3. Conceptual Framework Research chain for agriculture and nutritionDeveloped to Policy & Governance Political & Economic Context, e.g. fragile/ stable state, humanitarian situationdefine pathways Agricultural Impacts/ outcomes Indirect impacts/by which interventions/ practices related to nutrition intervening factorsagriculture may NUTRITIONAL STATUS Agricultural inputs Health/ educationcontribute to e.g. crops/ animal/ (anthropometry and biomarkers) status & wellbeingnutrition directly fish breeding, technology, fertilisers,and indirectly irrigation farmers, agricultural workers, (pregnant) Climate & Environment women, children, infants, populations in fragile states/humanitarian crises, urban consumers, other high risk groupsHelpful for Agricultural Health care &characterizing practices e.g. cropping/ horticultural/ fish/ animal Food consumption & education e.g. national investment inindividual raising practices, input use, intake e.g. household food services, household time allocation expenditure, foodresearch projects consumption & dietary practices diversity; individual food &as well as nutrient intake & dietary diversity; infant & young childidentifying gaps in Food value chain feeding practices Economic outcome e.g. storage,the research processing, e.g. household Food environment income, nationaloverall distribution, retailing availability, nutrient quality, growth affordability, acceptability Culture, Gender & Equity
    4. 4. Realigning Agriculture for Improved Nutrition (RAIN) Policy & Governance: Yes - aims to produce coordination between agriculture & health sectors & shared goal of nutrition Agricultural Impacts/ outcomes Indirect impacts/ interventions/ practices related to nutrition intervening factors Agricultural inputs NUTRITIONAL STATUS Health/ education status Vegetable seeds & small Target: children < 2, pregnant/lactating & wellbeing Child health animals provided at the women in one district in Zambia. Aims to (health card, vaccination beginning then farmers are reduce prevalence of chronic malnutrition status, de-worming, vitamin A, Political & Economic Context: No supported to generate their among young children & improve nutritional incidence of child illness) & own inputs later on . status of pregnant & lactating women. maternal health, e.g. BMIClimate & Environment: No Measures: Prevalence of stunting <5 yrs (HAZ scores), prevalence of wasting (WAZ, WHZ) Agricultural Health care & practices Establish education Use of health smallholder model farmers Food consumption & services, maternal knowledge (SMFs) - homestead intake Aims to improve of HIV, child feeding, health gardening, small-scale animal seeking and nutrition consumption (diversity & husbandry. quantity) of nutritious foods. Measures: Household Hunger Scale & Household Dietary Food value chain Diversity Score, IYCF in first 2 yrs Economic outcome Linkages to markets & Maternal involvement in potentially to micro- income-earning work, finance services Food environment remuneration for work, use of Aims to improve availability loans for agricultural purposes of and access to sufficient quality foods. Not clear how measured. Culture, Gender & Equity: Yes - aims for improved gender equality awareness & practices
    5. 5. Sustainable Production of Underutilized Vegetables to Enhance Rural Food Security Policy & Governance: NoClimate & Environment: Yes – looking at the impact of crop diversification on the environment Agricultural Impacts/ outcomes Indirect impacts/ interventions/ practices related to nutrition intervening factors Agricultural inputs NUTRITIONAL STATUS Health/ education status Selecting & evaluating different & wellbeing indigenous /underutilised Not measured No vegetables , including for Political & Economic Context: No nutritional quality Agricultural Health care & practices Conducting on- education farm experiments of different Food consumption & No indigenous /underutilised intake vegetables Not measured Food value chain Economic outcome Detailed value-chain Looking at the economic analyses for promising empowerment of women species, e.g. testing Food environment packaging technologies & Measures: indigenous determining market potential /underutilised vegetables use, distribution & nutritional quality. Culture, Gender & Equity: Yes - project is about economic empowerment of women
    6. 6. Mapping: overview of project funding & organisational arrangements• Significant majority (133/ 151) part of larger programme or funding initiative (e.g. CGIAR A4NH)• Multiple funders reported (46 in total), but dominated by 5 (BMGF, CIDA, IDRC, USAID, DFID)• One third (n=57) led by CGIAR centres• Lead organisations international or North America/ Europe• Almost all included LMIC organisation as a partner
    7. 7. Mapping: overview of project types & focus• Sub-Saharan Africa focus of 93/151. South Asia next with 36.• Emphasis on women and children (‘1000 days’) & rural poor/ farmers• Very few projects targeted urban populations or men as a specific group
    8. 8. Category Theme Number of projectsAgricultural production of nutritious* foods Biofortification (crop breeding) 17 Agricultural development/technology 15 Traditional/indigenous/local foods 11 Home gardening/homestead production 11 Aquacultural technology development 7 Other 6 Agrobiodiversity 5 Total 66Value chains Of nutritious* foods 12 Specific to biofortification 10 Not specified 2 Total 24Agricultural growth/ development more broadly 21Multi-sectoral nutrition projects that include agriculture 7Reducing/ understanding impact of aflatoxin contamination 4Policy, research, data and methodology Governance/capacity building/policy analysis 6 Development of methodology 4 Collection/analysis of datasets 5 Total 15Other/ not known 14Grand total 151
    9. 9. Gap analysis: conclusions• Whole research chain – research that considers the full pathway of change from agricultural inputs, practices, value chains, food environment to nutrition outcomes; a significant number of projects do not consider the value chain• Indirect effect of changes in agriculture on nutrition, through income and economic growth and associated changes in health and investments in health and education services• Effects of agricultural policy on nutrition as mediated through the value chain• Governance, policy processes and political economy as it relates to the development of agriculture-for-nutrition policies and programmes, the ability to implement them (and scale up) and for them to achieve their stated goals once implemented.• The way research on agriculture and nutrition is conducted, such as the development of methodologies and appropriate metrics• Consumers as a broader target group, notably rural workers and non-rural populations• The rural and urban poor at risk from nutrition-related non-communicable diseases• Cost-effectiveness