Agriculture & Food Security
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In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), malnutrition coupled with rising rates of undernutrition and the burden of overweight/obesity remains one of the most significant public health challenges facing the region. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture can play an important role in reducing malnutrition by addressing the underlying causes of nutrition outcomes. Therefore, we aim to assess the nutrition-sensitivity of food and agriculture policies in SSA and to provide recommendations for identified policy challenges in implementing nutrition-sensitive agriculture initiatives.
We assessed past and current national policies relevant to agriculture and nutrition from Ethiopia, Ghana, Malawi, Nigeria, and South Africa. Thirty policies and strategies were identified and reviewed after a literature scan that included journal articles, reports, and policy documents on food and agriculture. The policies and strategies were reviewed against FAO’s Key Recommendations for Improving Nutrition Through Agriculture and Food Systems guidelines.
Through the review of 30 policy documents, we found that the link between agriculture and nutrition remains weak, particularly in agriculture policies. The review of the policies highlighted insufficient attention to nutrition and the production of micronutrient-rich foods, lack of strategies to increase farmer market access, and weak multi-sectoral collaboration and capacity building.
Nutrition-sensitive agriculture has received scant attention in previous agricultural and food policies in SSA that were riddled with implementation issues, lack of capacity, and ineffective methods for multi-sector collaboration. Recognition of these challenges are leading countries to revise and create new policies that prioritize nutrition-sensitive agriculture as a key driver in overcoming malnutrition.
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