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Nutrition-sensitive agriculture: IFAD works with partners to mainstream nutrition

  |   SUN Country Network, SUN UN Network

During mid-July 2014, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) hosted an intensive four-day training workshop at its Rome headquarters with about 40 staff and consultants to expand the pool of experts on nutrition-sensitive agricultural and rural development projects.

The event was developed jointly by IFAD, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and REACH, a partnership of United Nations agencies working to scale up food and nutrition interventions. The workshop brought together practitioners from various disciplines – including agronomists, nutritionists, economists and agricultural investment planners – and from several continents. Participants discussed who can take on and design such assignments that effectively contribute to ending hunger and malnutrition in poor and vulnerable communities. 

Iain MacGillivray, special adviser to the IFAD President, pointed out that direct, largely health-based interventions to address child undernutrition are important but not the whole story. Measures such as micronutrient supplementation and promotion of breastfeeding can reduce chronic child undernutrition partially, he said. But the remaining burden of undernutrition will have to be relieved by other investments, including food-based solutions fostered by nutrition-sensitive agriculture.

Participants learned how a comprehensive model of agricultural development can be designed to prevent malnutrition, including undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies and overnutrition. This model encompasses partnerships with other sectors, including health, water and sanitation, and education. And it requires careful consideration of the social context, notably the status of women, as well as environmental conservation and biodiversity.

Read more at IFAD

Read a social reporting blog about IFAD-funded nutrition sensitive projects in Malawi and Zambia and how UN Nutrition teams are engaging for multi-sectoral collaboration.


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