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11.09.2012 - 08.10.2012

Making agriculture work for nutrition: Prioritizing country-level action, research and support

Dear Members,

There is now considerable interest among international development organizations and practitioners in agriculture programming and policy to improve nutrition.
A recent “Synthesis of Guiding Principles on Agriculture Programming for Nutrition” has highlighted the increasing number of international development institutions formally weighing in on the topic – and found that the key messages are often similar.  The synthesis identifies 20 principles independently voiced by multiple institutions for planning, implementing, and supporting nutrition-sensitive agriculture, as well as a number of gaps that limit action on these principles.
Building on the earlier FSN forum debate “Linking Agriculture, Food Systems, and Nutrition: What’s your perspective?” and the synthesis, the objective of this discussion is to distill and prioritize actions needed at country-level, research gaps, and support needed out of the substantial international dialogue on improving nutrition through food and agriculture.  
What are the main approaches we collectively see as most important?  What are some practical recommendations that can more effectively promote, support, and guarantee the integration of nutrition into agriculture and food security investments?  What research is needed?  

This discussion is timed strategically before several influential meetings involving agriculture-nutrition linkages and your contributions will be made available at and incorporated into upcoming nutrition and agriculture-related meetings, such as the SUN, CFS (Committee on World Food Security), GCARD (Global Conference on Agricultural Research for Development), and CAADP Nutrition Workshop (Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme).  Participation in this discussion will allow your voice to be heard at these agenda-setting events.

Questions:

Based on your own knowledge and experience in the area of improving nutrition through food and agriculture programmes:

1. If you were designing an agricultural investment programme, what are the top 5 things you would do to maximize its impact on nutrition?

2. To support the design and implementation of this programme, where would you like to see more research done, and why?

3. What can our institutions do to help country governments commit to action around your recommendations, and to help ensure implementation will be effective?

As you answer each of these questions, please share practical insights, evidence, and anecdotes from your personal experience researching, implementing, or advocating.

We thank you in advance for the time and thought you contribute to responding – time well-spent, we believe, for the influence your comments will have.

Facilitators:
Anna Herforth (consultant to World Bank and FAO)
Cristina Lopriore (member of the EU Nutrition Advisory Services, facilitating in her own personal capacity)

This discussion is now closed. Please contact fsn-moderator@fao.org for any further information.

Peter Steele FAO, Italy
21.09.2012
Peter

Colleagues,

Investment in nutrition needs stealth to succeed

Thinking differently
To make investments in nutrition work for nutrition – you have to dress ‘nutrition’ in different clothes. Nutrition is really difficult to sell at face value; the mover-shakers of the mainly donor-funded development world need to be attracted into investing in some other way – and you also have to encourage recipients to think differently. Would you rather have a high dam, a new capital city or a national nutrition programme if you ran the government? How do you want to be remembered?

Reading some of the original contributions a first easy-to-make assessment is that there are simply too many nutritionists involved with the debate, and insufficient (may be none-at-all) contributors from the politico-financial and commercial sectors. When you have a firm viewpoint, and particularly where it has a platform that is >100% morally sound, it is hard to step back and see the ‘trees in the forest’; that ‘forest ‘is simply too large. But this is exactly what needs to be done.

Of course nutrition, human health, equality of choice, gender issues and similar are all deserving of investment. And, if your country is rich enough and has the right kind of leadership, the social issues/investments of the day will continue to play a role in national development. You, representing the public, will ensure that this is the case. (Well, in an ideal world that is).

But what do you do if you cannot get access to sufficient public funding because, for example, you live in a poor country, you come from an isolated community, your people are not represented in government and so on (and this not forgetting the >60% of humanity who are illiterate, female, handicapped, elderly, young, unemployed and more – and frequently double or triple disadvantaged). You have to mobilize resources as best you can; and you have to promote, badger, provoke, encourage those better placed to take an interest. In short you have to use stealth, cunning, ingenuity and brilliance - to dress up your nutrition proposals (and others) within a guise that will ‘sell’.

You have to advertise and sell your ideas. And if the recipient public sector where you live is not interested, then you have to sell into the donor community and/or the private sector (and, for best, both at the same time). Which means finding out what interests these sectors, and tailoring your proposals to meet their investment requirements. You need to get to know these people.

Allied to this is the need to ‘think differently’ – to put yourselves into the shoes/offices/Landcruisers of the people whom you need to meet; those whom you need to persuade to your point-of-view.

Access to funds
Earlier this year those of us in the development industries were presented with findings from a number of sources that showed of the order US$21T (i.e. $21,000,000,000,000 - say it slowly) was currently held off-shore in the international tax havens by the so-called ‘super-rich’. Even this staggering figure may be substantially under-estimated, and it could be as high as US$35T. Off-shore funds come from a number of sources – typically countries with mineral, oil and gas resources and, crucially, those that are controlled by minority cliques for which there is no redress at the ballot box. So, things are unlikely to change any time soon. These countries are led by Russia, Saudi Arabia and Nigeria, respectively, with estimates of US$800B, US$340B & US$340B shifted off-shore during the past 20 years or so. The key issue here is simple to understand – once off-shore - these funds are no longer available for use within the country of origin.

So, what’s this got to do with nutrition and the FSN debate? Hang-on, we’re getting there, but you can probably already catch the drift of this particular contribution.

Ethiopia
Here is a short digression. Just on five years back I was involved with a food security project in Ethiopia – providing management from an office in Addis Ababa, working with the communities involved in the Northern Shoa and around Mekelle and generally trying to ensure delivery of socio-techno-economic packages for the estimated 90,000 target people involved. We had a budget of the order US$4.2M; and it was the largest project of its kind with the agency of the day. We did reasonably well, and follow-on activities continue to the present with new management, more communities, similar objectives and more – more funds too.

We undertook nutritional surveys of selected communities to help determine delivery and success with meeting objectives, etc. Summarizing findings in isolated hill country in what is one of the poorest countries on Africa, nutritional determinants were of the order 47%, 11% & 43%, respectively, for stunting, wasting & underweight for kids <5 years old. Terrible health/emergency results that we were able to target with our budgetary support for local investment – food, schools, sanitation, energy, clean water and more. Equally, we used our network of contacts to promote the project and its needs within our local donor community; no good being successful in the field if those in the capital city remain unaware of things. (This means networking, people, publications & promotion.)

We also looked sideways into private sector investment, for example, exploring wool production & sales with the largest blanket manufacturer in the country (who manufactured mainly on the basis of imported used fibres), use of fuel ethanol as an alternative to manure, baby-food production, dairy-cow/milk industries and foreign tourism – a day’s travel from Addis and the country provided pre-historic pristine walking opportunities (and the Ethiopian wolf Canis simensis); all it needed was a new rest house with clean beds and hot showers. And other opportunities.

Messages? You cannot sell the nutritional needs of your community easily when there are 80 million others in the country – most of whom face similar challenges. You cannot always plan on national-scale. But, all that said, Ethiopia country-wide has represented a success story for Africa during the past 10 years.

Country investment
But what if you need to plan nationally? Take a hypothetical country in West Africa - hypothetical remember. Consider an indigenous population of estimated 170M people with population increases of the order 2.5% pa and projected to be 475M by 2050 – already the issues are looking daunting. National planning is underway – always – and we know that GDP is rising of the order 7% annually (so, reasonable) on the basis of sector developments of which ‘agriculture’ dominates, but continues to trail manufacturing, services, oil&gas and others as a recipient of investment – yet estimated 70% of the population continue to depend upon agriculture for a living; and, coincident – coincident - 65% of the national population remains in ‘abject’ poverty – so, not just poor, but really poor (and this definitive sector is growing 5% annually).

Did someone mention ‘oil&gas’? Responsible for 19% of GDP, the sector provides 95% of foreign exchange and >80% of budgetary resources in support of a complicated national management structure that encompasses 36 state governments and one federal government. What options for those budgetary resources filtering down to the man/woman in the bush/street? The commercial sector, by contrast, impacts on just about everyone. Sure, people make profits by participating – sometimes really useful profits – from cement, telecom, banking, manufacturing and, of course, oil&gas. In our hypothetical country all these sectors have made money. Could these entrepreneurs with their assets and advisors shift into agriculture, agro-industries and agro-services? Some have done so already.

Investing in agriculture
But their investment is piecemeal, relatively low-key and sometimes high risk. Further, industrialization of agricultural production means investment in technologies, equipment, structures, water, etc. and, crucially, limited numbers of high quality people. What of the masses in the country that are already poor, imprisoned in rural subsistence systems and with little or no hope of change, but occupying that same land that is needed for larger-scale investment?

From here-on you can shift into the smallholder/organized agricultural production models or the larger-scale plantation models that carry less financial risk (but the much more difficult socio-economic risks of landless people migrating). And, the key element of this particular contribution? Here-in is the wardrobe of clothes required of nutrition development.

You shift into national, regional and zonal development that channel blocks of investment across the focus land areas; this is land-linked to producer-zones-linked to agro-industrial-parks-linked to markets-linked to towns, cities and/or ports. Sure, this has objectives to boost agro-production, improve socio-economic performance, rural well-being and just about everything else required of people; but you don’t bring nutrition in until the middle-game, when you need to count the number of school gardens, the number of kids attending secondary school, the number of buses linking producers to markets, the number of new jobs in the community and so on.

And if the title of the debate ‘Agriculture working for nutrition’ is too obvious – just think; with urbanization continuing apace worldwide that first generation born in the city will, like the majority of people everywhere see ‘agriculture at the supermarket’ – and then it simply becomes that much more challenging to convince kids (and their parents) that nutrition and dietary patterns begins with crops, livestock, fisheries and the rest of the natural world.

Get the point?

Key words: Private sector investment.

PS. And that off-shore money to which reference was made earlier? Governments in the countries concerned are unlikely to change over-night and thus the complexity and challenges of sharing national resources within the mass population will continue; but you can’t abuse, channel, cream and/or lose funds of this magnitude with agriculture as easily as you can with a ‘pump-it-and-shift-it’ industries like oil&gas. Don’t lose sight of the key role of agro-production & agro-industrialization in the race to boost nutrition.

Peter Steele
Consultant
Rome
20 September 2012

Moises Jorge Gómez Porchini Centro Estatal de Capacitación UAT, Mexico
21.09.2012
Moises Jorge

1. Si usted estuviera diseñando un programa de inversión agrícola, ¿cuáles son las cinco cosas principales que haría para maximizar su impacto en la nutrición?

I.-    Los cinco puntos principales que tomaría en cuenta son los siguientes:

1.-  Me enfocaría en los pequeños productores, en los más rezagados (mujeres, discapacitados, indígenas, pobres) ,  pues son ellos los que son más sensibles a sufrir  hambre si sus logros no son los adecuados.
2.-  Buscaría diversificar la producción, de tal manera que incluya diferentes tipos de alimentos, tanto vegetales como animales.
3.- Trabajaría con objetivos comunes, que hagan deseable  el asociarse para los productores, pues solo por medio de agrupaciones se puede llegar a alcanzar la escala necesaria para poder participar en un momento dado en el mercado.
4.-  Pondría mucho énfasis en la elaboración de proyectos que contemplen un esquema completo de negocios, que incluya el consumo local y la venta de excedentes, que tome en cuenta los aspectos socioculturales y medioambientales de la operación y que opere con fondos a largo plazo, que permitan el correcto establecimiento y desarrollo de las operaciones.
5.-   Buscaría obtener siempre productos terminados, no materias primas, por lo que la integración sería clave para obtener tanto el valor agregado en el aspecto económico como el aporte de nutrientes dado por productos de buena calidad.

2. Para apoyar el diseño e implementación de este programa, ¿dónde le gustaría ver que se investiga más y por qué?

II.- Sería básica la investigación para desarrollar tecnologías que los mismos productores puedan después replicar. El desarrollo de variedades agrícolas o cruzas animales con las que no dependan de otros para poder sembrarlas o criarlas sería básico. Sin embargo, yo considero que la mayor deficiencia no está en la falta de investigación, si no en la falta de difusión de esta investigación. El poner la información al alcance real de los pequeños productores es lo que en  mi opinión tendría realmente la capacidad de hacer la diferencia.
3. ¿Qué pueden hacer nuestras instituciones para ayudar a que los gobiernos nacionales se comprometan a actuar siguiendo sus recomendaciones, y para garantizar  que la aplicación sea efectiva?

Al revisar las aportaciones hechas a el actual tema o a cualquiera de los anteriores que se han tratado en este foro,  queda claro que de alguna manera hay un gran consenso acerca de lo que se considera correcto hacer para mejorar la agricultura desde diversos ángulos y que es urgente e importante tomar medidas para frenar el hambre y la desnutrición en el mundo. Sin embargo, esto es bastante claro en el ámbito académico pero no ocurre lo mismo en el sector comercial y en las esferas gubernamentales, en donde los intereses comerciales y políticos siguen prevaleciendo ampliamente sobre el interés de la sociedad.
En mi opinión, para lograr que los gobiernos atiendan realmente las recomendaciones hechas por la FAO y demás instituciones, es necesario que su voz tenga una resonancia mucho mayor. En la  medida en que la sociedad toda esté realmente informada de lo que ocurre en el mundo en el aspecto nutricional y sepa qué es lo que se tiene que hacer para corregirlo, podrá presionar para que se den los pasos en la dirección correcta.
El conocimiento compartido en este foro debe verterse ampliamente hacia la sociedad, no poco a poco, para que pueda influir en la toma de decisiones. No quiero mencionar ningún nombre, porque forzosamente omitiría a alguien, pero he leído comentarios demasiado valiosos que yo quisiera que escucharan mis autoridades.    
Difundir   la información por todos los medios posibles (Congresos regionales, Conferencias, Publicación y difusión de libros y revistas, blogs, etc.) sería la manera de poner los temas de este foro en la agenda propia de las instituciones nacionales, de manera que realmente se aborden localmente y se logre la inclusión de todos los actores necesarios para su discusión  e implementación (Autoridades, académicos, productores, periodistas, investigadores, comerciantes, ONGs, etc.).   

Saludos desde México
Moisés Gómez Porchini

Rachel Nugent University of Washington, United States of America
21.09.2012
Rachel  Nugent

Dear All:
 
Thanks for the good discussion. As part of the anniversary of the UN High Level Meeting on Non-communicable Diseases, yesterday the ONE blog published a short piece on agriculture and food security (http://www.one.org/blog/2012/09/19/food-is-linked-to-ncds-and-producers-...) that urges a broader understanding of food security. This was much debated in the last FSN discussion [Coming to terms with terminology, ed.], but here we are making the point that the formal definition is not lacking so much as the interpretation for programming purposes of what real food security is – including avoidance of excess calories without nutrition. Achieving that goal requires substantial changes in agriculture and food systems as my report details.
 
You asked what research needs to be done to narrow the gap between agriculture and good nutrition. Here are a few suggestions.
 
Improve understanding of causal links among agriculture, nutrition, and various health outcomes
Develop “mutual metrics” that are understood and endorsed by all sectors to they can work together on common objectives
Produce a generalizable measure of food diversity
Improve understanding of what influences consumer behavior to consume healthy food
Understand how to implement and measure the impacts of policy choices across sectors
 
Thanks.
 
rachel
______________________________________________________________
Rachel A. Nugent, Ph.D. | Director
Disease Control Priorities Network | Department of Global Health
University of Washington | Seattle, WA 98104

Meg Lunney Food and Agriculture Organization, Chile
20.09.2012
Meg

Malnutrition, both from the perspective of under and overnourishment, is complex and likely involves, in part, the globalization of trade, resource scarcity, and the nutritional translation from wholesome food products to those often processed containing high levels of salt, sugar, calories, saturated and trans fats, amongst others. In agreement with Mr. Kent´s comment, local agricultural production has a great potential to impact nutrition. Building capacity of smallholder producers in countries which export a large proportion of their products, may in turn, increase the national supply of food for consumers, perhaps at a more affordable cost.

An example of such, is the Food Acquisition Program in Brazil (PAA), where, by law, a minimum of 30% of food products provided to public schools must be purchased directly from smallholder farmers. This program has helped to serve children suffering both from chronic undernourishment, as well as those with obesity, consume healthy foods required for growth and development. Additionally, the program has given smallholder farmers more stability and security in their lives and rewards agricultural practices which benefit the environment.

Secondly, shifting the focus to include the quality of food, as opposed to merely quantity, is important as obesity and associated non-communicable diseases are affecting countries worldwide. Institutions can help facilitate the implementation of policies which promote the holistic, community-based objective of agriculture, thereby enabling families to consume healthy diets, balanced in calories and other essential nutrients. In addition to promoting the intake of healthy foods, complete, honest, and comprehendible labelling of products may further generate awareness of which types of foods should be avoided. Campaigns which distribute information to the public, for example Elige Vivir Sano in Chile (Choose to Live Healthily: http://www.eligevivirsano.cl/), may additionally discourage the intake of foods which lead to overnutrition.

Jane Sherman FAO and universities, Italy
20.09.2012
Jane Sherman

Question 1: What are the top five things you would do to maximise the impact of an agricultural investment programme on nutrition?

There is considerable evidence(I have seven highly reputable studies on my list of references, including the World Bank and WFP) that nutrition education is an essential catalyst for sustained nutrition impact in agricultural, community and health projects, with a pivotal role in food security interventions, and particularly visible effects in projects dealing with homestead gardening. The same documents (and others) make it clear that simply increasing food supply or improving agricultural productivity frequently fails to have an impact on nutritional status,in particular of young children: stunting rates remain high in countries which have notionally achieved MDG1 through increasing food production.
This makes perfect sense: if you are not aware that your diet needs improving, or that your children fall ill because they lack a variety of micronutrient-rich foods, why should you grow, purchase or eat foods which will improve the diet? Why not instead buy a video or a mobile phone? Even if you are aware, you may not be aware enough: as one Indonesian peasant said "You see, television is more important than food".
In the light of the evidence, I was glad to see several references in the discussion to a "social and behaviour change communication strategy" (which I would call nutrition education)recommended in the IYCF guidelines. But in my naive picture there remain several questions about how agriculture translates into better nutrition through education. Here is one of them.
In the case of homestead gardening is easy to see how women who learn to feed their families better find a ready-made strategy for improving diet in their own backyards. But what about the urban population and others who source their food outside the home? Suppose we mount a successful behaviour change program (let's say, to eat more beans) and at the same time persuade farmers to produce more beans in the hope of increased market demand. Can/do these two initiatives march together in sync? How do market mechanisms work between supplier and consumer to make the magic work for better eating habits? Do we have convincing examples of such synergies?

Perhaps some participants have the experience to answer my question.

Jane Sherman
Nutrition education consultant

S. Emmanuel Bleggi Bread for the World Institute, United States of America
20.09.2012
S. Emmanuel

1. If you were designing an agricultural investment programme, what are the top 5 things you would do to maximize its impact on nutrition?

I also like the ICYN guidelines:
- assess the situation and needs of the targeted population
- harmonize with existing programming, leveraging LCSO activities and utilizing current best practices
- design an effective social and behavior change communication strategy with a focus on individual, household and community behaviors
- train and build local capacity to take over and sustain the program,and
- develop measurable targets, monitoring progress to the outcome; adjust targets or program direction at mid-point or earlier if necessary

2. To support the design and implementation of this programme, where would you like to see more research done, and why?

We need to develop definitions and measures for nutrition-sensitive activities taking place in the context of larger, non-nutrition activities (like livelihoods, value chain development, education etc.). We understand the pathway to improved nutrition (processes, activities, actions), but not so much the output and outcome indicators. Also, research needs to be done on developing secondary 'nutrition-specific' objectives for 'nutrition-sensitive' activities. What is the cost and value-added of nutrition-sensitive in complementary development sectors?

3. What can our institutions do to help country governments commit to action around your recommendations, and to help ensure implementation will be effective?

Help them understand nutrition across sectors, and assist them in developing a corps of nutrition-minded professionals in agriculture, health and education. Enable to see that their investments in nutrition are smart, high-return actions that will be leveraged by donors and institutions.

20.09.2012
Osborne

Governments should invest in agricultural extension services for nutrition by incorporating behaviour change and communication approaches. In some cases there is already a lot of good skills and knowledge, and technologies with agricultural extension and community nutrition front line workers but there are still challenges to influence positive behaviour and nutrition practices in the target communities. In most cases there has been good transfer of knowledge and skills to the target communities but behaviour change communication skills and capacity need to be strengthened where already available and be incorporated where missing.

Oz

George Kent Department of Political Science, University of Hawai'i, United States of ...
20.09.2012
George

Greetings –

This discussion is on “Making agriculture work for nutrition: Prioritizing country-level action, research and support.” It is guided by positions taken by various international development institutions. Thus we have recognition of the national and global levels, but there is little articulation of the role of the local level in this framework. The local level is supposed to benefit from national and global action, but whether it has any role beyond that is not so clear. Sometimes it seems that the local level is simply expected to wait for instructions and benefits from above.

The concept of food sovereignty can be understood as referring to the localization of control in communities, based on increasing local self-reliance. In this perspective, the center of decision-making should be local. The higher levels should facilitate and support local decision makers in doing what they want to do, based in their own understandings of their interests. Under the principle of subsidiarity, the higher levels should serve the lower levels, and not the reverse.

There is room for debate about the wisdom of that food sovereignty approach. It could introduce what many would regard as inefficiencies in the system. However, the more critical questions are about who benefits, and who is harmed. Viewed globally, food is abundant, yet there are around a billion people who are food insecure, hungry. That certainly is a type of inefficiency.

We are asked, “What are the main approaches we collectively see as most important? What are some practical recommendations that can more effectively promote, support, and guarantee the integration of nutrition into agriculture and food security investments? What research is needed?”

People at ground level might ask how to establish stronger links between nutrition and agriculture, but they are not going to ask about it in terms of investments or research. Investments and research are likely to be under someone else’s control, and serve interests that are not the interests of the people at the ground. Why should the question be framed in terms of research and investments from above?

Maybe the linkage between nutrition and agriculture is something that should be built at ground level, not at the national and global levels.

Thinking about how these issues might look at ground level should lead us to reflect on how nutrition and agriculture got separated. After all, in pre-modern times, before the dominance of markets and before wealth accumulation became so important to so many, agriculture was undertaken to produce food, not wealth.

The separation can be illustrated by the shift from taro to rice production in Hawai'i in the 1860s. Taro and other foods were produced to meet people’s needs. One can eat just so much taro. Then settlers came along, and decided to produce rice for profit. Rice exports, mainly to California, reached more than 13 million tons in 1887. Long before that level was reached, the rapid displacement of taro by rice led the local newspaper to ask, “where is our taro to come from?” The disconnect between farming for food and farming for money became clear. The people whose taro supply was threatened were not the people who profited from rice exports.

If we are interested in restoring the linkage between agriculture and food, national and global agencies certainly should have a role, but maybe the main action should be at the local level, in the communities. The reconnection might come not from market forces but from the fact that people care about each other’s well being. If the purpose of communities’ food systems was to ensure that all their people were well nourished, we would have a world without hunger. There are now many people working to envision what constitutes a healthy food system, beginning at the local level.

If that makes sense, then the main role of agencies at national and global levels should be to do what they can to strengthen local communities, and ensure that people in those communities have the capacity and the motivation to take care of one another. This might look like a step backward toward pre-modern times, but maybe it is the right way to get beyond our flawed present to better post-modern times.

Aloha, George Kent

Dr. Anna Herforth Independent consultant, United States of America
20.09.2012
Anna

Dear FSN Forum members,

Many thanks to those who have already contributed to this discussion – it is already very rich, with a variety of different perspectives.

Several themes have already emerged suggesting priority actions at country level.  For example, starting with situation analysis (to determine what the nutritional problems are and possible solutions); measuring progress on nutrition objectives with appropriate M&E; focusing on food quality (including nutritional quality and food safety) rather than just food quantity; actions to empower women and put them at the center of investments; and collaboration across sectors.

What do you feel are the priorities?  We encourage you to focus on what you would say if you were to advise a director of planning for agriculture; at that level, what are the most important things he or she should bear in mind, in order to make the investments work for nutrition?

Some research gaps have also already been mentioned; including the overall need for documenting results attributable to particular project activities.  What other gaps do you see?  How can research enable better investments in agriculture for nutrition?

And, what can our/your institutions do specifically to support the actions?  Capacity building has been mentioned in a few contributions.  Where do you feel capacity building is needed and how can it be done?  Also coming from the contributions so far, how can multisectoral and multi-partner collaboration be done effectively and how can it be supported by all of our/your institutions?

To all who have given even any amount of thought to this topic, your contributions will further enrich this discussion.  Thanks again to those who have taken the time to respond!

Best,
Anna and Cristina
 

Elvis NJABE Denmark
18.09.2012
Elvis

Dear moderators,
nutrition in a global perspective affects both the producer and the consumer, the rich and the poor, either in the form of over nutrition or under nutrition. Agriculture is for sure our number one concern with respect to nutrition, but the whole supply chain from farms to consumers is very complex.
If improving economy of the society is considered the backbone of Agriculture, then government and organizations at regional and country levels should make policies, not just for agricultural high yields but also to protect the nutritional content and value of the produce.
The high yields (quantity) of produce should not be at the expense of nutritional quality. Many farmers backup their yield with application of chemical fertilizers, which does not only affect human health but also our environment. Studies and research centers should be set up to analyze and monitor the application of chemical fertilizers with respect to nutritional content and safety.
At this time where food borne illness is rapidly increasing, the whole food chain should be covered using a traceability system monitored by well trained experts, to track the movement of produce and food product from farm to consumer´s hand.
Therefore, intervention programmes which support and include both the producers and consumers should be setup from production, transportation and storage, to cover both urban and rural regions.

Best regards

Elvis NJABE