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Strengths and weaknesses

Strengths

  • Many extension agents have substantial reach into the communities in which they operate, and trust and rapport with community members. Harnessing this social capital is considered to be effective in improving nutrition. 
  • Improving yield and incomes are major goals for farmers. Integrating communication about nutrition and dietary-related behaviour change into the portfolio of activities of extension agents may create the conditions for improved nutrition to be adopted and demanded within farmer families.
  • Extension agents focus on local food production systems. Through knowledge and adoption of new practices that integrate nutrition within local cropping, livestock, and food safety technologies and innovations, extension agents can better address the causal factors impacting the communities in which they work.
  • Use of other delivery platforms, such as WASH, could link agriculture with the health and water sectors in meaningful ways to impact nutrition.
  • Weaknesses

    • The agriculture and nutrition sectors speak different ‘languages’. Coming from different disciplines, agriculturalists and nutritionists adopt different language, priorities, and terms, which constrains integration. This is often apparent among different rural workers.
    • There is limited understanding of nutrition within EAS. There is an underlying ignorance regarding the basics of nutrition. 
    • Those working in nutrition contend there needs to be a discussion across sectors to clarify the role of each sector in addressing nutrition, and to decide how to mobilise resources and create a budget for nutrition interventions for EAS specifically. 
    • There is a lack of joint planning and dialogue at all levels. Coordination of planning and dialogue among the  relevant agriculture, nutrition, and health actors does not happen. It is important to identify and leverage existing mechanisms and avenues for collaboration. 

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