A4NH is built on the notion that agriculture can do more for improving nutrition and health. In the past, agriculture has played a key role in providing poor people with a steady supply of staple crops that meet calorie requirements at relatively low prices. Income from agriculture has also been important for improving these households’ nutrition and health, particularly when women earn income or have access to highly nutritious foods.
Agriculture, however, has the potential to do more than contribute to basic food and income needs. The bio-fortified staple crops developed by HarvestPlus, will deliver the three most important micro-nutrients, vitamin A, iron and zinc, to millions of poor households in Africa and Asia. It will also increase the availability, access, and use of highly nutritious foods (legumes, meat, milk, eggs, fish) to young children and young women through more efficient and effective value chains. Finally, the program will work with development “implementers” and “enablers” to focus agricultural inputs on maximizing crops’ nutritional benefits and minimizing disease risks. These activities will be informed by evidence that highlights when agricultural and other social programs need to be enhanced with direct nutrition and health inputs.
A4NH’s research outputs are designed to support agricultural researchers, value chain actors, program implementers, and policymakers in reshaping their actions to better contribute to nutrition and health outcomes and impacts. The program also aims to develop better synergies between agriculture and the nutrition and health sectors to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks of agricultural actions on human nutrition and health.