NOTE 9: Integrating Nutrition into Rural Advisory Services and Extension
There is a heightened awareness globally and within development institutions and governments of the need to better understand the links between agriculture and nutrition, and to decipher the ways in which the agriculture sector can contribute to improved nutrition. The ‘what’ and the ‘how’ of effectively delivering ‘nutritionsensitive agriculture’(1) services to rural households remain even less understood.
Extension workers (through public, private, and nongovernment organisation (NGO) channels) are often thought of as a promising platform or vehicle for the delivery of nutrition knowledge and practices to improve the nutritional health of rural communities because they reach and interact closely with farmers in different settings. They act as significant service providers of crop, livestock, and forestry aspects of food security, consumption, and production.
NOTE 4: Integrating Gender into Rural Advisory Services
Rural women’s roles and contributions to agriculture remain undervalued and neglected by the sector’s policy- making and implementation processes. Women typically are involved in many aspects of the agricultural value chain, often contributing anywhere from 25 to 75% of the productive labour. However, they generally have less access to rural advisory services (RAS) than men. They also have less access to agricultural inputs, such as fertilisers, technologies, and veterinary services, which reduces their overall productivity. This is particularly a problem in countries in Africa, where women’s agricultural involvement varies from about 30% in the Gambia to 60–80% in Cameroon.
NOTE 26: Involving men in nutrition
Men often have priority when it comes to food: they may eat before everyone else and enjoy the most nutritious food. Women and children can be left with smaller portions and less nutritious meals. This exposes women and girls to a range of harmful physical and emotional health outcomes. Malnutrition has intergenerational consequences because undernourished women give birth to low birth-weight babies. Such children can face cognitive and other limitations all their lives, making it difficult to escape from poverty. When women face food discrimination on a national scale, the human capital of the nation is put at risk.
NOTE 25: Promoting nutrition-sensitive extension advisory services
Extension advisory services (EAS) support smallholders to improve the productivity and efficiency of their farms and to take decisions on the outlook of their business. Extension advisory services include not only government extension services, but also services organised and funded by private companies along their supply chains – for example, a food processor or a commodity aggregator may establish an outgrower scheme and employ its own extension agents.