Recommendations (20)

Smallholder Agriculture’s Contribution to Better Nutrition

Steve Wiggins, Sharada Keats , 2013

Smallholder agriculture can potentially affect food security and nutrition through the following pathways: 

  1. Making food available through production; 
  2. Reducing the real cost of food by increasing the supply of food. The composition of production also matters, since this affects the availability and prices of different foods with their varying nutrients; 
  3. Generating incomes for farmers and those working the land as labourers, that allow access to food; and through 
  4. Providing incomes to others in the rural economy from linkages in production and consumption that create additional activity and jobs. 

The Role of Agriculture: Producing Food to Nourish People?

Global Nutrition , 2016

This factsheet is the second publication by generation nutrition looking at the differentways of preventing child undernutrition. It explains howagricultural programmes in developing countries can have a bigger impact in reducing undernutrition and, in doing so, fulfil one of the sectors main roles: to provide people with the nutritious food they need for a healthy and productive life.

Integrating Agriculture and Nutrition Education for Improved Young Child Nutrition

FAO , 2016

Given that the emphasis on enhancing agriculture’s impact on nutrition is relatively new, some key knowledge gaps exist on the relative mix of components and the extent of their integration that make implementation most effective. The institutional aspects of programme delivery, technical capacities and inter-sectoral collaboration required are also not well understood. Questions remain regarding the design and implementation of nutrition education for behaviour change and what makes such interventions work, how they can be sustained and scaled up, and at what cost? Much work remains to be done to know exactly what to do and how to do it, and to determine where the greatest opportunities are. In other words, it is important to know which type of programmes deliver the greatest benefit to target beneficiaries and are likely to have the greatest impact.

Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture Programming

Mercy Corps , 2015

The guidance is designed for non-nutrition specialists. It helps agriculturalists avoid unintentionally harming the nutritional status of target households and boost nutrition whenever possible. It includes:

Nutrition Sensitivity: How Agriculture Can Improve Child Nutrition

Save the Children , 2014

There is broad consensus on the need to scale up nutrition-specific interventions– ie, direct nutrition interventions such as promoting exclusive breastfeeding, infant and young child feeding, or greater coverage of vitamin A. But the limited evidence base on nutrition-sensitive approaches makes it difficult for agriculture, social protection and other relevant policies to take account of their potential impact on nutrition. There is an urgent need to strengthen the nutritional component of many agricultural policies and investment plans.2 A role of agricultural policy is to promote economic development and provide nutrition for a country’s population. CAADP plans should include a nutrition strategic objective supported by clearly defined indicators. The indicators should be differentiated by gender and age group (adult and child).

Nutrition Core Competences for Mid-Level Animal and Plant Science Disciplines at Agriculture Technical Vocational Education and Training Colleges in Ethiopia

Jhpiego , 2012

Ethiopio is one of the 36 countries with the highest burden of malnutrition in the world. In recent years, the country has improved the underweight and stunting trends in under-five children, for which rates of stunting and under-weight decreased by 14% and 12% respectively, between 2000 and 2011; while prevalence of vasting did not show significant progress over the past 11 years. Currently, more then 4 out of 10 under-five children are still chronically malnutritioned, and nutrition has become one of the major national agenda items that need multi-sectoral coordination. The Empowering New Generations to Improve Nutrition and Economic Opportunities (EGNE) project iw working to strengthen mulit-sector coordination and build capacity at the policy and implementation levels, as well as at the pre-service education and training level.

Reducing the Gender Gap in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: How to Find the Best Fit for Men and Women Farmers

Cristina Manfre, Deborah Rubin, Andrea Allen, Gale Summerfield, Kathleen Colverson, Mercy Akeredolu , 2013

Reducing the Gender Gap in Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services: How to Find the Best Fit for Men and Women Farmers, Cristina Manfre, Deborah Rubin, Andrea Allen, Gale Summerfield, Kathleen Colverson, Mercy Akeredolu, 2013

Agriculture is a fundamental driver of economic growth and poverty reduction for many developing countries. Past efforts at revitalizing the agriculture sector have failed in part because they overlooked the role of women and the negative effects of gender inequalities on productivity. According to The State of Food and Agriculture (FAO, 2011), “Women comprise, on average, 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries, ranging from 20% in Latin America to 50% in Eastern Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa”. Reducing gender inequalities in access to productive resources and services could increase yields on women’s farms by 20–30%, which could raise agricultural output in developing countries by 2.5–4% (FAO, 2011).

Mainstreaming Agrobiodiversity in Sustainable Food Systems:

Bioversity International , 2017

In today’s complex and interconnected world, what we eat and how we produce it are inextricably bound together. A focus on increasing food production without due concern for the environment is causing severe land and water degradation. A focus on addressing hunger without a focus on good nutrition is causing an epidemic of non-communicable diseases. A focus on increasing yields in a few staple food crops is contributing to loss of crop diversity. What we need is to be able to produce a wide variety of nutritious foods while having minimal impact on the environment – a sustainable food system. The Sustainable Development Goals, signed by 193 world leaders in 2015, recognize that these challenges are interconnected and multidimensional.

Competency Framework for Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services

Robb Davis, Edye Kuyper, Andrea Bohn, Cristina Manfre, Sandra Russo, Deborah Rubin , 2017

Competency Framework for Integrating Gender and Nutrition within Agricultural Extension Services, Robb Davis, Edye Kuyper, Andrea Bohn, Cristina Manfre, Sandra Russo, Deborah Rubin, 2017

The INGENAES capacity development activities are intended to build gender-responsive, nutrition-sensitive skills among organizations providing agricultural extension services (AES). The objectives are to enable these organizations to identify and equip staff with the appropriate skills to deliver services that lead to improved gender- and nutrition-related outcomes; and to establish a set of gender-responsive, nutrition-sensitive AES practices that substantially and effectively strengthen gender equity and improve nutrition outcomes. 

What types of skills, attitudes, and behaviors (SAB)1 are necessary to enable institutions to deliver gender- and nutrition-informed services? 

The SABs needed at the individual level require a supportive environment that enables individual extension workers to employ the SABs. Such a supportive environment consists of technically correct training, supportive supervision, and appropriate incentives to encourage SAB deployment by staff. 

Food-based Dietary Guidelines: An Overview

Jeanette Andrade, Juan Andrade , 2016

Food-Based Dietary Guidelines: An Overview, Jeanette Andrade, Juan Andrade,, 2016

Men and women of all ages need to consume a variety of foods to support growth, provide strength, improve cognitive function, and reduce susceptibility to chronic diseases, illnesses, and infection (Smolin & Grosvenor, 2016; WHO, 2014). In an effort to help address the nutrition concerns of populations, Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) have been established in several countries around the world (FAO, 2016). These FBDG are created to inform the public about consuming more nutritious foods and living a healthier life (FAO, 2016). Additionally, countries use FBDGs not only to guide nutrition education programs but also to guide policies and programs in various sectors like agriculture, education and social protection. The purpose of this technical note is to help health professionals and non-health professionals understand basic facts about the FBDG such as origins, purpose, characteristics, and potential challenges when developing and implementing these FBDG with target communities.

Methods for Teaching and Evaluating Food-Based Dietary Guidelines

Jeanette Andrade, Juan Andrade , 2016

Food-Based Dietary Guidelines (FBDG) are established in several countries around the world to address the nutrition concerns of populations (FAO, 2016). FBDGs inform the public about consuming nutritious foods and living a healthy life (FAO, 2016). However, the methods and strategies to educate the public, especially those living in rural communities, and their evaluation are limited. Therefore, the purpose of this technical note is to two-fold: 1) to assist health professionals and non-health professionals educate the public about understanding and using FBDGs, and 2) to provide organizations an overview of methods to evaluate these teaching strategies for their effectiveness in changing community members’ dietary behaviors.

Analysis of Indicators and Measurement Tools Used in Zambia to Assess Impact of Agricultural Extension Programs on Gender Equity and Nutrition Outcomes

Rhoda Mofya-Mukuka, Mulako Kabisa , 2016

In Zambia, investment in agricultural extension with a focus on gender equity and nutrition outcomes has been increasing, and in the last decade, several organizations have replicated projects in different geographical areas. However, with persistent high prevalence of malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies still being recorded especially among children below the age of five, it is either these initiatives have little impact on reducing malnutrition, they are not sufficient, the correct programs are not being implemented, and/or the methods used to measure the impact may be inappropriate.

Conceptualizing the Contribution of Agricultural Extension Services to Nutrition

Edye Kuyper, Laina Schneider , 2016

There is growing global interest in better leveraging Agricultural Extension Services (AES) as a foundation for food and nutrition security. Pluralistic AES (defined in Box 1) consist of rural, agriculturally focused extension and advisory services implemented by public, NGO, and private-sector entities. They reach millions of farmers and represent largely untapped potential for influencing production and consumption decisions which could, in turn, affect the health and nutrition status of populations, particularly in rural areas. Their specific contributions, however, are only beginning to be articulated and evaluated.

This discussion paper addresses the specific contribution that AES can make to food and nutrition security in a way that is consistent with AES’s primary functions. It is particularly focused on the scope of the INGENAES project and the context of the Feed the Future countries within which the project operates.

Integrated Homestead Food Production

IFAD , 2015

This note presents lessons learned on integrated homestead food production (IHFP) emerging from projects and programmes implemented by IFAD and other development actors around the world. It aims to complement the How To Do Note (HTDN) on the same subject by illustrating success stories and good practices through case studies. The emerging lessons are distilled and synthesized in order to provide concrete models that could inform and ideally be scaled up in the design and implementation of future IFAD-funded interventions.

Synthesis of Guiding Principles on Agriculture Programming for Nutrition

FAOVersion , 2013

Since the food crisis in 2008, the L’Aquila commitments to agriculture - as well as increased investments in agriculture from multilateral development institutions and foundations - have led to increased funding and human resources for agricultural development, and in particular that focused on smallholder and women farmers. At the same time, the Scaling Up Nutrition Framework for Action (2010) and Road Map (2011) have also placed an emphasis on the need for urgent investment to reduce malnutrition, and the United Nations Committee on World Food Security (CFS) is developing a Global Strategic Framework for Food Security and Nutrition (2012). National governments and operational staff have also increased their requests for assistance and guidance from the international development partners on what to do to improve nutrition impact from agriculture. For example, since the inclusion of nutrition as Pillar 3 in the CAADP, African nations are seeking improved knowledge and capacity in this area.

Improving Dietary Diversity to Enhance Women’s and Children’s Nutritional Status in Guatemala’s Western Highlands

FANTA , 2016

Nearly one out of every two children under 5 years of age in Guatemala is stunted. In the Western Highlands, the situation is far worse, with 7 out of every 10 children stunted. Stunting causes children to be shorter than healthy children of the same age. Stunting is a result of chronic malnutrition caused by inadequate quantity and variety of nutrient-rich foods and/or by repeated illnesses, and can lead to adverse health and physical and cognitive development. Stunting in young children increases the risk of: mortality from infections, impaired cognitive ability, late school enrollment, poor school performance, dropping out of school, lower future adult labor productivity, and chronic diseases in adulthood. Preventing stunting through key interventions during the critical 1,000 days from pregnancy through the first 2 years of life is important because it can become increasingly difficult to reverse stunting’s negative consequences after this period.

USAID/ENGINE’s Dietary Diversity and “Farm Wash” SBCC Kit for Agriculture Extension Workers

Lydia Clemmons , 2016

DURATION: 5 year integrated nutrition Feed the Future program, funded by USAID (2011-2016), working through multi-sector interventions 

Agriculture and livelihoods, nutrition-specific and nutrition-sensitive programming, policy, training for frontliners, and advanced degree programs 


  • Led by Save The Children 
  • Partners include Land o’Lakes, Tufts University, JHPIEGO, The Manoff Group, Valid International, and local NGOs through sub-grants 

 LOCATION: 116 woredas (zones) in the Amhara, Oromia, SNNP, Tigray, amd Somali regions of Ethiopia 


  • 3.1 million under five children 
  • half a million pregnant and lactating women 
  • 3.2 million women of reproductive age 

Incorporating Nutrition in Farmer Field Schools

Karel Callens, Kevin D. Gallagher , 2003

Incorporating nutrition in farmer field schools, Karel Callens, Kevin D. Gallagher, , 2003

In many developing countries, food insecurity combined with a high incidence of infections continues to affect detrimentally the nutrition and health status of poor households. Wasting and stunting are important indicators of undernutrition. Wasting reflects acute food shortages and health problems, and stunting reveals the longer-term presence of nutrition problems. The signs and symptoms of specific micronutrient deficiencies are much less commonly known or recognized by local people and therefore not acted upon as frequently. However, specific micronutrient deficiencies frequently go hand-in-hand with general undernutrition.

Best Practice Tips on Measurement Tools for Gender Equity and Nutrition Impact

Rhoda Mofya-Mukuka, Mulako Kabisa , 2017

An important first step in strengthening gender equity and nutrition outcomes involves having reliable methods of measurement of current conditions (Ballard et al. 2011). Measurement tools and indicators have been developed and validated for measuring nutrition outcomes (FANTA 2008; FAO and FHI 360 2016) and gender equity (Malapit et al. 2014; Alkire et al. 2013) at international level. Measurement helps to hold implementers accountable for the actions they take towards improving the status of gender equity and/or nutrition outcomes in their target areas.

Fostering Agriculture - Nutrition Links

Suresh Chandra Babu, Terih Havimo, Eija Pehu , 2015

Fostering Agriculture - Nutrition Links, Suresh Chandra Babu, Terih Havimo, Eija Pehu, 2015

Malnutrition continues to be a major development challenge in the South Asia Region. Given its size, India hosts the majority of the malnourished. Around 300 million people in India do not have access to a food supply that sufficiently meets their basic energy needs (World Bank 2012. Nutrition at A Glance: India. Washington, DC: World Bank Group). Despite recent economic growth, poverty remains high, and malnutrition is now manifest in all its forms with overweight and obesity increasing alongside persistent undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies. The progress made between 1970 and 2010 in reducing malnutrition was largely due to improving access to safe water, female education, and female empowerment, the latter 2 especially key in South Asia. The factor that made the least progress between 1995 and 2010 is increasing quantity and quality of food, clearly a responsibility of agriculture (L. Smith and L. Haddad 2014, “Reducing Child Undernutrition: Past Drivers and Priorities for the Post-MDG Era.” IDS Working Paper 441).