Supporting nutrition-sensitive agriculture through neglected and underutilized species is a new framework, developed by A4NH Managing Partner Bioversity International and the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), as part of A4NH's Flagship Research Program on Supporting Policies, Programs, and Enabling Action through Research (SPEAR), that sets out how using a diversified range of crop species and varieties can put nutrition back into our food production systems.
The publication draws attention to the underutilized potential of thousands of cultivated and wild food plants that are no longer used in mainstream agriculture, having fallen victim to modern cultivation practices, the standardization and uniformity of globalized markets or changing eating habits. Also known as 'neglected and underutilized species,' these plants have the potential to contribute to healthy diets, healthy food production systems, improved livelihoods and sustainable development. They also make good economic sense.
Groundbreaking projects that IFAD has been championing in Asia, Africa, and Latin America for almost 20 years, with partners including Bioversity International, have gathered the evidence, for example, on mainstreaming millets as a central element for sustainably enhanced incomes, empowerment and nutrition in rural India.
The publication uses evidence and lessons learned to set the framework for maintaining genetic diversity in programmes and projects to strengthen nutrition-sensitive agriculture. It is designed as a companion to Nutrition-sensitive value chains: A guide for project design. The Framework offers case studies and guidance on effective practice - for example, empowering women through innovative value chain developments or promoting the participation of marginalized groups.
To read more about the new framework, read the full post, which appeared on the Bioversity International website.
This work is supported by the Canadian Government and harnesses the experience gained through previous grants supported by IFAD and the EU Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO). Bioversity International and IFAD have been developing an operational framework to guide practitioners within and outside of IFAD on ways to embed Neglected and Underutilized Species in project design and promote their sustainable use throughout a holistic, inter-disciplinary and inter-sectoral value chain approach. The framework will be supported by five upcoming "How-To-Do" notes, covering priority setting, marketing, and policy.
The conference provided an example of how work done by different A4NH flagships open opportunities for experience sharing across countries.
Malnutrition, including micronutrient deficiency, is especially acute among women in India. Locally-grown produce may hold the key to improving diets.
The Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) program ran from 2012-2018, focusing on countries with high rates of undernutrition and large agricultural sectors.