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Supporting food security, nutrition and livelihoods in sub-Saharan Africa

Now more than ever, sustainable responses to malnutrition and hunger are needed in sub-Saharan Africa, where chronic malnutrition rates are the world’s highest and countries have been severely affected by food price volatility and the financial and economic crises.

The food and agriculture sector has a major role to play in eradicating extreme poverty and hunger. Protecting and promoting good nutrition, core to the mandate of FAO, is the first step towards achieving the first Millennium Development Goal and central to realizing the Human Right to Food. By improving nutrition, the agricultural sector can support progress on the other MDGs, in particular MDGs 4, 5 and 6 (reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases).

Interventions to improve nutrition are to be based on the needs and realities of households and communities and build on local strategies and capacities. International, regional and national initiatives should support progress at the local level by promoting integrated responses that combine:

  • food security (diversified agriculture, livestock, fisheries, forestry, market access, infrastructure...)
  • public health (health services, housing, water & sanitation, health and nutrition education...)
  • social protection (cash transfers, food assistance, livelihoods support, gender empowerment, care of vulnerable individuals...)


Photo: ©FAO/Giampiero Diana Photo: ©FAO/Gianluigi Guercia Photo: ©FAO/Ch. Errath Photo: ©FAO/Giulio Napolitano


Agriculture for Nutrition

Good nutrition is essential:

  • to allow children to grow properly and develop their full potential;
  • to enable adults to provide for their families and participate in the economic and social development of their country.