The CGIAR Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health collaborated in two pre-GCARD workshops on agriculture for nutritional outcomes and on gender and nutrition on October 28 in collaboration with the Global Donor Platform on Gender and Nutrition and the World Bank. This event brought together different partners from different regions. The first workshop was on how to reshape agriculture for better nutritional outcomes. Two issues clearly emerged from this discussion:
1. What changes do we need to make in agriculture for better nutrition and gender outcomes?
This stimulated a lively discussion on issues of community and country ownership, leadership, and the need for a fundamental rethinking of outcomes and objectives, greater investments, and new partnerships for impact in agriculture programs.
2. How do we implement in different regions (which had 3 working groups from South Asia, Africa and Latin America)?
The discussion focused on the importance of:
- Building on and linking to regional agriculture and nutrition platforms in Africa, Asia and Latin America (CAADP-SUN, SAFANSI, LANSA, BIOFORT).
- Linking country leadership to local actions for accountability of results
- Coordinating performing actors (public and private) and breaking down silos that separate sectors.
- Focusing on the 1000 days and malnourished groups
- Building new knowledge and capacity in the areas of gender, food utilization, consumer behavior and demand
The second workshop focused on enhancing gender and nutrition outcomes. This had two panels, the first featuring two donor agency representatives, Nikita Eriksen-Hamel from CIDA and Eija Pehu from the World Bank. They provided an optimistic perspective on how new approaches and interventions are improving gender and nutrition. A second panel featuring Jimmy Smith, Director General of ILRI, Andre Dusi from the EMBRAPA, International Department, and Narayan Hegde of the NGO Baif in India, revealed how their programs were providing new insights into improving gender and nutrition outcomes. There was then a lively discussion among participants challenging assumptions and providing additional insights.
On October 29, A4NH presented a GCARD parallel session on household nutrition security. During this session, John McDermott presented a summary of how A4NH is striving to work towards impact at scale. He highlighted the accomplishments of Harvest Plus in coordinating the release of 7 micronutrient enhanced varieties, establishing nutritional efficacy in randomized clinical trials, and establishing country teams to spur delivery efforts. Over the next 5 years, Harvest Plus plans that up to 40 million undernourished people will be nourished through its improved varieties in 8 target countries and their neighbors. John also emphasized an array of novel rigorous evaluations being undertaken to meet the evidence challenge from donors and policy makers. He also highlighted two food safety initiatives around perishable foods and reducing the risk of aflatoxins that will be scaled up in the coming 2 years. He finished with a summary of advice from the regional discussions at the pre-conference meeting.