Food and nutrition security is a global challenge which is increasingly engaging the attention of international, regional and national policy makers, researchers and academicians, farmers, the private sector and the development community. While, achieving food security has always been a priority for many, within recent times, concerns have grown about under and over-nutrition, especially linked to a failure to adequately address stunting and micro-nutrient deficiency and a rise in non-communicable disease. Understanding the nexus between agriculture, food and nutrition has become a research and development priority. For children, there is a particular focus on the first 1000 days from conception to age two, as poor nutrition in this period has particularly damaging long-term effects. Persuading politicians to focus on nutrition is difficult as effects are often hidden or delayed, but demonstrating the cost of failing to act is crucial to raising the profile of the nutrition agenda in policy and decision making.
There are many practical issues to ensuring coherence in agriculture, nutrition and related policies and programmes. Reducing hunger and improving nutrition outcomes require inter-linked thinking and multi-disciplinary and multi-sectoral approaches as well as multi-stakeholder engagement. Agriculture and nutrition researchers need to work together for tackling problems such as micronutrient deficiencies and developing solutions such as bio-fortification. The private sector also needs to be mobilized to become more engaged in addressing this global challenge. Through articles, documents and links, this folder explores both the emerging priorities in agriculture and nutrition research and what is needed for policy, research and industry stakeholders to work toward improved nutrition outcomes.
In one lead article, Jan Meerman, Food and Agriculture Organization, and Noora-Lisa Aberman, International Food Policy Research Institute, discuss how to create an enabling environment to take forward these ideas. They stress the challenge of overcoming the low policy visibility of nutrition related issues and the need to coordinate across multiple government sectors to achieve progress.
In another lead article, Kimberley Keeton and John McDermott of CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health describe key initiatives for boosting nutritious food systems including smallholder food production, bio-fortification and food safety.. They emphasise that researchers can combine existing evidence for improving nutrition through agriculture, including: the production of diverse foods and to inform food policies.
The documents and links in this folder explore the scientific focus of nutrition research and its interface with policy interventions that address the complex policy interactions involved in improving nutritious outcomes.
This folder was prepared by CABI, KIT and CTA in May 2014.