The extent of global hunger and under-nutrition remains a major development challenge: almost 800 million people worldwide go hungry and about 2 billion are micronutrient-deficient. It is obvious that agriculture needs to play a major role in addressing this challenge; however, until recently agricultural programmes have paid little direct attention to nutrition. This situation is starting to change: the need for nutrition-sensitive agricultural programmes is becoming more widely recognised, and it is notable that SDG2 combines these key issues into a single over-arching goal, to “End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition, and promote sustainable agriculture”. However there is still relatively little evidence and practical experience on how to implement integrated agriculture-nutrition programmes.
Purpose of the Group
The Working Group will provide a space for Forum members to:
Share and improve Forum members’ understanding of the linkages between agriculture and nutrition in developing country contexts
Identify existing best practice in agriculture-nutrition policies and programmes
Share information on members’ activities and plans in this area
Develop guidance for members on integrating nutritional goals into agricultural programmes
Facilitate capacity-building opportunities for Forum members and developing country partners in the area of agriculture-nutrition linkages.
Relevance to the Forum
The Forum brings together key Irish institutions and individuals involved in agriculture for development. It is important that agriculture’s role in addressing the challenges of hunger and malnutrition is well understood, and that this can be translated into appropriate policies and programmes for implementation in developing countries. Although the primary focus initially is likely to be on under-nutrition, many developing countries are experiencing the “nutrition transition” where over-nutrition is becoming a problem for some sections of the population. This is partly linked to the growing commercialisation of food systems in developing countries. Forum members have wide-ranging experience and expertise in these areas and the working group will create a space to bring together such expertise to focus on agriculture-nutrition linkages.
Membership will be open to all Forum members as this is a core issue in current thinking and action on agricultural development. It may be of particular interest to those with a direct involvement in design and implementation of agricultural and agri-food activities in developing countries, and also to nutritionists involved in multi-sectoral programmes which include agriculture.