Africa is the only continent in the world where poverty and malnutrition are on the rise. The African Development Bank estimates that, by 2030, Africa will have 200 million children below the age of five; with stunting on the increase (WHO), a majority of these children will be stunted unless action is taken. Research has shown that for every dollar invested in improving nutrition, a country can get 16 dollars in returns. Agriculture is central to this: it is a source of nutritious food and income, enabling families – especially women – to afford more diverse foods and services, such as better healthcare.
How we are tackling it
We will generate research that creates a shared understanding of the nexus between agriculture, food systems, nutrition, and resilience, and provides evidence linking agriculture and food systems interventions with reduced malnutrition rates and improved resilience among communities. By catalyzing policy dialogue advocating for resilient food systems, innovations will support high-quality diets at household level and nutrition actions will focus on using a food systems approach to intervene in the following ways:
Generate knowledge and provide advice on the link between agriculture and nutrition
CIAT will continue to build evidence of the positive impacts on nutrition that result from interventions in the agricultural sector, to guide decision makers on where to prioritize investments.
Strengthened engagement with the private sector to improve nutrition
We will focus on promoting the production and consumption of nutritious foods, including biofortified beans, in collaboration with the private sector. Our research can help identify which public–private partnerships can best improve diets, and which incentives will spur the private sector to champion healthy eating.
Promote policies that aim to improve nutrition
CIAT will strive to lead dialogues to influence national policies in support of improved nutrition, through initiatives such as the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition.
Develop a Nutrition Early Warning System (NEWS)
CIAT is developing a mechanism to detect emerging food and nutritional crises before they take hold. NEWS will use big data approaches to help alert governments and give options for early action.
Cross-cutting research and alignment to regional initiatives
CIAT will mainstream nutrition research in all its work in Africa, and align with continent-wide nutrition initiatives. This means ensuring nutrition objectives are integrated into broader programs, for example, to track diet quality and improve education at the household level.
- Consumers have better access to more nutritious food.
- Private sector food companies actively promote more nutritious foods.
- Improved systems to plan, manage, and evaluate nutrition interventions in agricultural projects are mainstreamed.
- Evidence of the links between agricultural interventions and improved nutrition is generated.