Connecting the food and agriculture sector to nutrition interventions for improved health outcomes

E. Duncan, L. Ashton, A. R. Abdulai, T. Sawadogo-Lewis, S. E. King, E. D. G. Fraser, S. Vosti, J. Haines, F. Knight & T. Roberton
Food Security
Resource type:
Peer review

To achieve the Sustainable Development Goal of zero hunger, multi-sectoral strategies to improve nutrition are necessary. Building towards this goal, the food and agriculture sector must be considered when designing nutritional interventions. Nevertheless, most frameworks designed to guide nutritional interventions do not adequately capture opportunities for integrating nutrition interventions within the food and agriculture sector. This paper aims to highlight how deeply connected the food and agriculture sector is to underlying causes of malnutrition and identify opportunities to better integrate the food and agriculture sector and nutrition in low and middle income countries.

In particular, this paper:

  • expands on the UNICEF conceptual framework for undernutrition to integrate the food and agriculture sector and nutrition outcomes,
  • identifies how nutritional outcomes and agriculture are linked in six important ways by defining evidence-based food and agriculture system components within these pathways: as a source of food, as a source of income, through food prices, women’s empowerment, women’s utilization of time, and women’s health and nutritional status, and
  • shows that the food and agriculture sector facilitates interventions through production, processing and consumption, as well as through farmer practices and behavior. Current frameworks used to guide nutrition interventions are designed from a health sector paradigm, leaving agricultural aspects not sufficiently leveraged.

This paper concludes by proposing intervention opportunities to rectify the missed opportunities generated by this approach. Program design should consider the ways that the food and agriculture sector is linked to other critical sectors to comprehensively address malnutrition. This framework is designed to help the user to begin to identify intervention sites that may be considered when planning and implementing multi-sectoral nutrition programs.



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This resource has been peer reviewed