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Greetings, and thank you for the very interesting reading, and for the webinar! The USAID SPRING project is working on building the evidence base to better integrate agriculture and nutrition. Our work focuses broadly on how to operationalize the Primary Pathways for Linking Agriculture and Nutrition, which include own production, through income, and women’s empowerment, and how globally we can better define and scale up nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions. Nutrition sensitive agriculture practices relate the most directly to food production and consumption, and nutrient values, but there are many practices, such as good WASH and environmental management practices related to reducing post- harvest loss, time and energy of women, use of income, and the role of public and private value chain and food system actors. Some of these are inherent in the agricultural systems, while there are many gaps.
Relative to this decision forum, I am working on a formative research study in Northern Ghana to examine the agriculture information systems related to cereal-legume cropping systems (primarily maize, soy, cowpea, and pigeon pea), and how we can better promote nutrition through these systems. We chose these crops because there are a lot of existing materials and research to build on. Our formative research will focus on the gauging the perceptions of farmers and other system actors on how we can “add value” to these related value chains through embedding nutrition-sensitive agriculture content into existing information systems. So, we are interested in extension and rural advisory services content, because even here, there are many gaps in the way content is integrated and how it is promoted, and thus opportunities for helping rural households understand the linkage between soil health, plant health, the environment, and human (and animal) nutrition. We are also equally interested in the role of other system actors, such as input suppliers, aggregators, retailors, processors, and financial service providers, and others who also have a role in the information systems through training, investing and marketing.
We look forward to sharing this later this year. We are also interested in collecting any specific farm-level extension materials, or materials used among other value chain actors relative to promoting the linkage between human nutrition and pulses.
The USAID funded Strengthening Results, Partnerships, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally project staff had the opportunity to visit the USAID Feed the Future project: USAID | Yaajeende in Senegal, which is led by the National Cooperative Business Association CLUSA International (NCBA CLUSA), and focused on nutrition led agriculture. There are many successful innovations in this program, but one that stands out is the Community Based Solution Providers (CBSP) approach, which uses a network of community-based service providers and volunteers to sell and promote nutrition-sensitive products, services, and training. The CBSPs are selected by the communities where they live, and either provide or facilitate access to services and credit by working with larger input suppliers and financial institutions. The CBSPs buy in bulk, and are able to offer products in smaller quantities, and facilitate group purchases and access to credit in order to reach more vulnerable households with limited assets and purchasing power.
Some examples of items and services sold include horticulture and cereal crop seeds, iodized salt, bio-fortified and enriched flours, fresh vegetables, and animal feed. Other services provided include providing or facilitating access to finance and business planning, traditional and mechanized ripping, and crop insurance. An initial evaluation of the CBSP approach shows that individual CBSP micro-enterprises are profitable, and there is growing demand for nutrition-sensitive agricultural products and services. CBSPs have formed regional networks and leadership structures, which will assume the management, leadership, and quality assurance roles, as well as ensure the sustainability and continued growth of the networks.
Please see these project links for additional information:
Thank you for the opportunity to contribute to this highly interesting discussion.
Strengthening Partnerships, Results, and Innovations in Nutrition Globally