Nutrition-sensitive agriculture water productivity

National partners trained on sustainable nutrition-sensitive agricultural water productivity practices to promote food and nutrition security


From 18 to 20 October, national experts and extension officers from Benin, Mozambique and Niger were trained on the modules covered in the Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture Water Productivity (NsAWP) training manual for smallholder farmers, as part of the ongoing NsAWP project supported by FAO and IFAD. Participants included experts involved in the agriculture, water and nutrition sectors from UN agencies such as IFAD, WFP and UNESCO, as well as government institutions, non-governmental organizations, universities, research institutions and other national organizations.


The training workshop was held in a hybrid format and synchronized across the three countries, with simultaneous interpretation in English, French and Portuguese. This format facilitated cross-country engagement and exchange of experiences, which had high impact on participants’ learning experience. In Benin, 9 participants attended the training in person at the FAO conference room, while in Mozambique and Niger, 15 and 19 participants, respectively, attended in person at FAO conference rooms in each country. In total, 101 in-person and virtual participants attended the three-day training session.


Paulo Dias, Project Manager (NSL), opened the event by presenting learning objectives introducing the NsAWP project. This was followed by an overview of the Farmer Field School Approach and its relevance for the implementation of the NsAWP guidelines.


To promote knowledge and implementation of sustainable management of water and farming practices that improve livelihoods and nutrition outcomes, several facilitators presented on topics relevant to the implementation of the NSAWP guidelines, including:

  • Sustainable water management practices (presented by Patricia Mejias-Moreno, Land and Water Officer, NSL);
  • Sustainable soil fertility and agronomic management practices, including land use planning (presented by Feras Ziadat, Technical Officer (NSL) and Rogério Rafael, National Project Coordinator – Mozambique);
  • The use of indigenous and traditional crops, improved varieties, and crop diversification (presented by Ndeye Ndack Diop, Agricultural Officer, NSP);
  • Nutrition, healthy diets and postharvest management of crops (presented by Cynthia Matare, Water & Nutrition Education Specialist, Ana Islas Ramos, Nutrition Officer and Norberto Ambagan, Nutrition and Food Systems Officer from ESN);
  • Water harvesting for sanitation and hygiene (presented by Rogério Rafael, National Project Coordinator - Mozambique);
  • Market access and public procurement programmes for smallholder farmers (presented by Paulo Dias, NSL).

Presentations for each topic were concluded by breakout group discussions, by country, where participants reflected on and discussed contextually relevant barriers, technologies and adaptations that could be considered for more effective implementation of the training manual. In the coming weeks, additional training at the field level will be conducted in all three countries using participatory approaches, targeting at least 150 smallholder farmers and 10 local extension officers in each country. The extension officers will work with the farmers over one cropping season to strengthen their capacities to adopt sustainable water, soil and agronomic management practices, in line with the NsAWP guidelines.


Participants expressed their gratitude and satisfaction with the content and how the knowledge obtained through the training will help them to improve production and marketing activities. Speaking on behalf of the participants, Mr. Augusto Nunes, National Coordinator of the UNESCO Associated Schools Network – Mozambique, said, “We thank the training organizers for this opportunity. Now we have the knowledge that will benefit our communities. We also thank all the experts and facilitators for their expertise and excellent facilitation. We learned a lot from the training, and we will make an effort to share what we have learned in our respective communities. We look forward to the follow-up activities of this training workshop and we reaffirm our commitment to collaborate with the project.”


The session concluded with a moderated discussion among online and in-person participants. They asked questions about follow-up actions and how they could be engaged in the post-training project activities. Attendees left with a greater knowledge and understanding of the NsAWP guidelines and practices, and increased capacity to adapt and implement these guidelines.