“Nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions have due potential to improve diets.” This is one of the takeaways from a recent expert meeting on how to make agricultural programs work for nutrition, and which approaches to use to measure progress. The meeting took place in The Hague on May 17, 2018, and was organized by the Netherlands Working Group on international Nutrition (NWGN) in collaboration with the Food & Business Knowledge Platform (F&BKP). The preliminary findings of the meeting are available here.
Making agri-food systems more nutrition-sensitive
There is growing commitment at global level to improve food and nutrition security. Alongside nutrition specific interventions special efforts are made to make agri-food systems more nutrition-sensitive. Although consensus exists on pathways through which agriculture may influence nutrition-related outcomes, empirical evidence on agriculture’s contribution to nutrition and how it can be enhanced is still weak. Therefore there is growing demand for evidence on what policies and programs work best, how and at what cost. Good quality measurement tools are key to collect data on output, outreach, outcome and impact levels, and to generate reliable evidence on what works well.
The workshop of May 17 served to share knowledge on the latest empirical evidence for impact of nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions on nutrition, as well as related pathways and contextual factors. Subsequently the focus was on how to best measure the contributions of nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions on nutrition outcomes with a combination of improved metrics.
Dr. Marie Ruel, Director of the Poverty, Health and Nutrition Division of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) presented the evidence from a recently published review on nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions for nutrition. That was followed by presentations and group discussions of case studies on experiences and lessons learned with measuring the contribution of NSA to nutrition outcomes by Dutch actors working in food and nutrition security. This included a presentation by Dr Hazel Malapit (IFPRI) on the latest innovations of adaptions for the Women’s Empowerment in Agriculture Index (WEAI) being used to measure links between women empowerment and nutrition within NSA.