Lessons Learned from Two Projects that Integrated Agricultural Interventions and Nutrition in Bangladesh
Food and nutrition security exists when all people are able to consume food in both sufficient quantity and quality to meet their dietary needs and food preferences, and they are supported by an environment with adequate sanitation, health services and care, allowing for a healthy and active life (FAO, 1996). Agriculture1 is fundamental to this widely held definition of food and nutrition security. Approximately half of the people of Bangladesh depend on agriculture for their livelihoods as a source of income. Two-thirds of them are women farmers. Most agricultural producers also purchase foods to supplement their home production (GoB, 2011). Despite high level of economic growth in recent years, malnutrition persists in many countries of the South Asian Region. Bangladesh has achieved significant economic growth and poverty reduction, yet continues to battle some of the highest rates of malnutrition in the world (World Bank, 2011). To improve the nutritional status of affected persons in Bangladesh, nutrition specific interventions such as Vitamin A supplementation, food supplementation, and immunization programmes have been in place for many years. Unfortunately, little focus has been placed on the broader resolutions of nutrition through agriculture (including horticulture, fisheries and animal husbandry) that play an important role in reducing undernutrition through food-based approaches as nutrition-sensitive interventions.