Growth is good, but it is not enough to improve nutrition

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2020 Conference on "Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health" …

2020 Conference on "Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health"
February 12, 2011
Credit: Olivier Ecker, IFPRI

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  • 1. Growth is Good,but is not Enough to Improve Nutrition Olivier Ecker, Clemens Breisinger, Karl Pauw Development Strategy and Governance Division International Food Policy Research Institute 2020 Conference: Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health February 10-12, 2011; New Delhi, India
  • 2. The Dis(Connection) of Growth to Nutrition Growth is generally good for nutrition, but some countries have seen nutrition deteriorate despite growth. In what way and to what extent does growth contribute to nutrition outcomes, and how can policies be designed to better leverage growth for nutrition improvements? Proportion of undernourished people (% of population) Proportion of stunted children (% of children under five) Bangladesh Malawi Yemen Guatemala India Bangladesh Yemen Egypt Malawi Guatemala India Egypt Annual GDP per capita (constant 2000 US$) Annual GDP per capita (constant 2000 US$)
  • 3. Complementary Case Studies Yemen Malawi Oil-based economy with a small  Agriculture-based economy agricultural sector with limited diversity Extremely widespread child  High risk of chronic malnutrition micronutrient malnutritionPolicy simulations: Agr. vs. non-agr. growth; staple-based agr. growth vs. broad-based agr. growth
  • 4. Results and Policy Implications (1) Growth leads to reduced calorie deficiency. Depending on a country’s economic structure and the characteristics of the malnourished population, agriculture or non-agricultural growth can be better for improving nutrition. The role of growth in improving nutrition Proportion of deficient people Malawi Broad-based agriculture growth National GDP / Agriculture VA shifts during the (% of population) 60 (optimistic scenario) (2010=100) 180 development process: 50 170 At early stages of 40 160 150 development 30 140 agricultural growth is 20 130 critical, then 10 120 110 economic 0 100 diversification gains 2010 Calorie deficiency 2015 Iron deficiency 2020 Vitamin A deficiency in importance. National GDP Agriculture VA
  • 5. Results and Policy Implications (2) Neither agricultural growth nor non-agricultural growth is sufficient to improve child nutrition and reduce micronutrient malnutrition. Any policy reform needs to be accompanied by strategic investments and targeted programs to tackle child malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies effectively. Investments in the Proportion of deficient people / Yemen Manufacturing and service sector-led growth National GDP / Agriculture VA health and education 60 stunted children (2010=100) (optimistic scenario) 200 sectors, nutrition and 50 190 180 health information 40 170 and education 30 160 150 campaigns, and 20 140 130 programs focused on 10 120 child and maternal 110 0 100 health and nutrition 2010 2015 Calorie deficiency (% of population) 2020 Child stunting (% of children under five) are needed. National GDP Agriculture VA