evidence-based blog of Filippo Dibari

Posts Tagged ‘agriculture and food systems’

Nutrition Key to Developing Africa’s “Grey Matter Infrastructure”

In Over-nutrition, Under-nutrition on May 29, 2017 at 6:13 am

from IPSnews

AfDB President Akinwumi Adesina adressing delegates at the nutrition event while Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, World Food Prize Foundation, listens. Credit: Friday Phiri/IPS


AHMEDABAD, India, May 24 2017 (IPS) – Developing Africa’s ‘grey matter infrastructure’ through multi-sector investments in nutrition has been identified as a game changer for Africa’s sustainable development.

Experts here at the 2017 African Development Bank’s Annual Meetings say investing in physical infrastructure alone cannot help Africa to move forward without building brainpower.

“We can’t say Africa is rising when half of our children are stunted.” –Muhammad Ali Pate

“We can repair a bridge, we know how to do that, we can fix a port, we know how to do it, we can fix a rail, we know how to do that, but we don’t know how to fix brain cells once they are gone, that’s why we need to change our approach to dealing with nutrition matters in Africa,” said AfDB President, Akinwumi Adesina, pointing out that stunting alone costs Africa 25 billion dollars annually.

Malnutrition – the cause of half of child deaths worldwide – continues to rob generations of Africans of the chance to grow to their full physical and cognitive potential, hugely impacting not only health outcomes, but also economic development.

Malnutrition is unacceptably high on the continent, with 58 million or 36 percent of children under the age of five chronically undernourished (suffering from stunting)—and in some countries, as many as one out of every two children suffer from stunting. The effects of stunting are irreversible, impacting the ability of children’s bodies and brains to grow to their full potential.

On a panel discussion Developing Africa’s Grey Matter Infrastructure: Addressing Africa’s Nutrition Challenges” moderated by IFPRI’s Rajul Pandya-Lorch, experts highlighted the importance of urgently fighting the scourge of malnutrition.

Laura Landis of the World Food Programme (WFP) said the cost of inaction is dramatic. “We have to make an economic argument on why we need action,” she said. “The WFP is helping, in cooperation with the African Union and the AfDB, to collect the data that gets not just the Health Minister moving, but also Heads of State or Ministers of Finance.”

The idea is to get everyone involved and not leave nutrition to agriculture and/or health ministries alone. And panelists established that there is indeed a direct link between productivity and growth of the agriculture sector and improved nutrition.

Baffour Agyeman of the John Kuffuor Foundation puts it simply: “It has become evident that it is the quality of food and not the quantity thereof that is more important,” calling for awareness not to end at high level conferences but get to the grassroots.

Assisting African governments to build strong and robust economies is accordingly a key priority for the AfDB. But recognizing the potential that exists in the continent’s vast human capital, the bank included nutrition as a focus area under its five operational priorities – the High 5s.

And to mobilise support at the highest level, the African Leaders for Nutrition (ALN) initiative was launched last year, bringing together Heads of State committed to ending malnutrition in their countries.

As a key partner of this initiative, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation foresees improved accountability with such an initiative in place. “ALN is a way to make the fight against malnutrition a central development issue that Ministers of Finance and Heads of State take seriously and hold all sectors accountable for,” said Shawn Baker, Nutrition Director at the Foundation.

However, African Ministers of Finance want to see better coordination and for governments to play a leading role in such initiatives to achieve desired results. “Cooperation and coordination are key between government and development partners,” said Sierra Leone’s Finance and Economic Development Minister Momodu Kargbo. “Development partners disregard government systems when implementing programmes whereas they should align and carefully regard existing government institutions and ways of working.”

Notwithstanding the overarching theme of Africa rising, Muhammad Ali Pate, CEO of Big Win Philanthropy, says, “We can’t say Africa is rising when half of our children are stunted.” He pointed out the need to close the mismatch between the continent’s sustained GDP growth and improved livelihood of its people.

With the agreed global SDG agenda, Gerda Verburg, Scaling Up Nutrition Movement Coordinator sees nutrition as a core of achieving the goals. “Without better nutrition you will not end poverty, without better nutrition you will not end gender inequality, without better nutrition you will not improve health, find innovative approaches, or peace and stability, better nutrition is the core,” she says.

Therefore, developing Grey Matter Infrastructure is key to improving the quality of life for the people of Africa. But it won’t happen without leadership to encourage investments in agriculture and nutrition, and more importantly, resource mobilization for this purpose.

Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios

In Over-nutrition, Under-nutrition on November 27, 2016 at 3:33 am

Peters CJ, Picardy J, Darrouzet-Nardi AF, Wilkins JL, Griffin TS, et al. 2016. Carrying capacity of U.S. agricultural land: Ten diet scenarios. Elem Sci Anth 4: 000116

(download here)

Abstract

Strategies for environmental sustainability and global food security must account for dietary change. Using a biophysical simulation model we calculated human carrying capacity under ten diet scenarios. The scenarios included two reference diets based on actual consumption and eight “Healthy Diet” scenarios that complied with nutritional recommendations but varied in the level of meat content. We considered the U.S. agricultural land base and accounted for losses, processing conversions, livestock feed needs, suitability of land for crops or grazing, and land productivity.

Annual per capita land requirements ranged from 0.13 to 1.08 ha person-1 year-1 across the ten diet scenarios. Carrying capacity varied from 402 to 807 million persons; 1.3 to 2.6 times the 2010 U.S. population.

Carrying capacity was generally higher for scenarios with less meat and highest for the lacto-vegetarian diet. However, the carrying capacity of the vegan diet was lower than two of the healthy omnivore diet scenarios.

Sensitivity analysis showed that carrying capacity estimates were highly influenced by starting assumptions about the proportion of cropland available for cultivated cropping.

Population level dietary change can contribute substantially to meeting future food needs, though ongoing agricultural research and sustainable management practices are still needed to assure sufficient production levels.

 

(free 3 h) Training: Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture Programming

In Under-nutrition on September 3, 2015 at 2:41 pm

from Agrilinks/USAID web site.

Overview

Welcome to USAID’s online training course on nutrition-sensitive agricultural programming! This comprehensive three-hour course is explicitly designed to support the Feed the Future nutrition-sensitive agricultural programming guidance. Developed by the Bureaus for Food Security and Global Health, the course introduces the fundamentals of nutrition-sensitive agriculture and provides guidelines for practitioners to use when designing programs that promote access to nutrient-rich foods and dietary diversity.

Modules (3 hours in total; may be completed over multiple sessions)

Context Matters: SPRING Interactive Agriculture and Nutrition Context Assessment Guide for Improved Multisectoral Design | SPRING

In Under-nutrition on July 3, 2015 at 8:19 pm
from SPRING website.

Understanding local contexts is critical to designing and implementing effective approaches to improve nutrition through agricultural programs. While many tools have been developed to help implementers with context assessment, knowing which tool is most appropriate for particular aspects of programming can be a challenge.

SPRING has developed an online interactive guide to help designers and implementers of agriculture-nutrition projects understand which context assessment tools can be most effective at various points along the Pathways from Agriculture to Nutrition. The guide is intended to inform multisectoral program design by leading program planners through a process that identifies and prioritizes components of over 50 relevant, existing context assessment tools that meet planners’ needs. In this webinar, SPRING Food Security and Nutrition Specialist, Alyssa Klein and Research Advisor Lidan Du demonstrated how the guide helps position agriculture and food security interventions to improve maternal and child nutrition.

As part of this webinar, Amy Deptford, Nutrition Officer at Save the Children, UK showcased how practitioners can use one of the tools in the guide. The Cost of the Diet (CoD) tool estimates the amount and combination of local foods needed to provide a typical family with a diet that meets their average needs for energy and recommended intakes of protein, fat, and micronutrients. In addition, the tool helps to identify the minimum cost and the affordability of such a diet, as well as whether a nutritious diet can be achieved using locally available foods.

View Webinar Recording (link is external)

Context Assessment: Guide, Tools, and Online Platform (PDF, 912 KB)

Cost of the Diet: A Method and New Software (PDF, .99 MB)

Technical Brief | Global Panel: How can Agriculture and Food System Policies improve Nutrition?

In Under-nutrition on February 17, 2015 at 9:35 am

The Technical Brief | Global Panel is an independent group of influential experts with a commitment to tackling global challenges in food and nutrition security.

 Download the Technical Brief

 Download the Summary Brief

 Watch the animated video

TECHNICAL BRIEF

The multiple burdens on health created today for low and middle income countries by food-related nutrition problems include not only persistent undernutrition and stunting, but widespread vitamin and mineral deficiencies and growing prevalence of overweight, obesity and non-communicable diseases. These different forms of malnutrition limit people’s opportunity to live healthy and productive lives and impede the growth of economies and whole societies.

The traditional view that improving agricultural productivity will improve nutritional security is no longer tenable. Nor can nutrition-specific interventions or social protection programmes provide long term and sustainable nutrition for those most in need. More food is needed, and these specific interventions can help, but much more needs to be done to ensure that countries have agriculture and food systems that support a food environment that delivers healthy, diverse diets and supports nutrition outcomes.

The food environment from which consumers should be able to create healthy diets is influenced by four domains of economic activity:

  • agricultural production
  • markets and trade systems
  • consumer purchasing power
  • food transformation and consumer demand

In each of these domains, there are a range of policies that can have enormous influence on the nutritional outcomes. In this technical brief, we explain how these policies can influence nutrition, positively and negatively. We make an argument for an integrated approach, drawing on policies from across these domains, and the need for more empirical evidence to identify successful approaches.

This technical brief is accompanied by a policy summary, which captures its main points. Together, they represent the first of a range of outputs from the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, designed to guide decision-makers, particularly governments, on how to generate nutrition-enhancing agricultural and food policy and investment in low and middle income countries.

 

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UN/SCN News 40: Changing Food Systems for Better Nutrition

In Over-nutrition, Under-nutrition on April 21, 2014 at 6:13 pm

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(from the UN/SCN web site)

With growing attention to nutrition-agriculture linkages, understanding how to create nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems is an essential task for the future. This edition of SCN News, entitled, ‘Changing Food Systems for Better Nutrition‘ provides an overview and insights on how to change food systems for better nutrition.

This edition feature papers looking at what is going on now in terms of programming and policies, and also papers considering how to accomplish change. The case studies provide concrete examples of how countries and cities are integrating agriculture and nutrition.
This edition also contains an interview with Alan Berg, one of the nutrition pioneers, and provides an enlightening testimony of an individual’s efforts to bring nutrition and agriculture together. It also tells the story of a nutritionist winning a Grammy Award.

Access the complete SCN News 40 now and happy reading !!

 

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