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Our Approach to Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture
We understand that the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition are complex, so we design nutrition-sensitive projects that target these root causes.

An estimated 2 billion people globally are food insecure. Adequate nutrition is needed for healthy physical and cognitive development in children, and is fundamental to improving livelihoods, increasing economic activity, and empowering women. We understand that the causes of food insecurity and malnutrition are complex, so we design nutrition-sensitive projects that target these root causes.

Our Approach

Beyond a household’s ability to access safe, nutritious, and diverse foods, households may lack access to water, agricultural inputs, timely information, and markets. With 75% of the world’s poor working in agriculture, our projects are nutrition-sensitive: designed to increase the availability, and affordability, of safe, quality, diverse and nutrient-rich foods across households, especially for women and children during the first 1,000 days of life. We apply a range of strategies and integrated approaches to nutrition-sensitive agricultural development, from improving market systems, to empowering women and children, to driving healthier, sustainable food choices for households.  

Our Focus Areas

Increasing Consumption of Nutrient-Rich Food 

Consumption of diverse diets — especially of iron and vitamin A rich animal source foods — can control and prevent anemia, reduce low-birth weight in children, improve school performance, and reduce stunting. Our projects integrate evidence-based social and behavior change strategies across production, marketing, and nutrition interventions. Using on-farm training, media, and product marketing, we help households increase their consumption of safe, quality, diverse and nutrient-rich foods.

Improving Food Production

We train producers in innovative on-farm management practices that increase nutrient-rich crop and animal yields, while reducing losses from pests and disease. We help farmers become more resilient in the face of a changing climate so they can sustainably improve production. Our projects reduce food safety threats across value chains by building the capacity of processors and regulators in postharvest practices, food handling, processing, and storage.   

Increasing Incomes 

By investing in activities that increase agricultural income and activating market systems where entrepreneurs and innovation thrive, our projects empower individuals — especially women — to make positive-nutrition decisions for households.   

Strengthening the Food Environment and Market Systems

We focus on engaging households within competitive markets to transition households out of poverty. Our approach uses the food environment as a lens to determine intervention choices and understand pathways to improve the market conditions that drive diet quality. Our nutrition-sensitive approaches help people and businesses improve input supply, production, offtake markets, access to finance, post-harvest handling, and food processing, with a focus on diverse, nutrient-rich crops and animals with the best chance of improving nutrition. 

Case Examples

Rwanda Orora Wihaze

The USAID Feed the Future Orora Wihaze project works with local partners and private sector actors in Rwanda to increase the availability and consumption of nutrient-dense animal source foods by strengthening market systems.

Growth Through Nutrition

The USAID Growth Through Nutrition (GTN) program increased access to diverse, safe, and quality foods for Ethiopians. GTN increased participants’ production and consumption of nutrient-rich vegetables, fruits, legumes, bio-fortified crops, and small livestock, using a nutrition-sensitive approach to train extension agents, model farmers, and vulnerable households.

Dairy Nourishes Africa

Founded by the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Nourishes Africa (DNA) is a public-private partnership leveraging the collective strength of the global dairy sector and local stakeholders to ensure African food systems become more resilient, inclusive, and sustainable. DNA is improving nutrition standards and increasing food quality to create long-term, sustainable value chains to ensure farmers have markets for their milk. 

By Britta Hansen 06/24/2021