Are agriculture and nutrition policies and practice coherent? Stakeholder evidence from Afghanistan

FS

Abstract

Despite recent improvements in the national average, stunting levels in Afghanistan exceed 70% in some Provinces. Agriculture serves as the main source of livelihood for over half of the population and has the potential to be a strong driver of a reduction in under-nutrition. This article reports research conducted through interviews with stakeholders in agriculture and nutrition in the capital, Kabul, and four provinces of Afghanistan, to gain a better understanding of the institutional and political factors surrounding policy making and the nutrition-sensitivity of agriculture. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with a total of 46 stakeholders from central government and four provinces, including staff from international organizations, NGOs and universities. We found evidence of interdisciplinary communication at the central level and within Provinces, but little evidence of vertical coordination in policy formulation and implementation between the centre and Provinces. Policy formulation and decision making were largely sectoral, top-down, and poorly contextualised. The weaknesses identified in policy formulation, focus, knowledge management, and human and financial resources inhibit the orientation of national agricultural development strategies towards nutrition-sensitivity. Integrating agriculture and nutrition policies requires explicit leadership from the centre. However, the effectiveness of a food-based approach to reducing nutrition insecurity will depend on decentralising policy ownership to the regions and provinces through stronger subnational governance. Security and humanitarian considerations point to the need to manage and integrate in a deliberate way the acute humanitarian care and long-term development needs, of which malnutrition is just one element.

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Forest foods and healthy diets: quantifying the contributions

rowland2017

Abstract

Forested landscapes provide a source of micronutrient rich food for millions of people around the world. A growing evidence base suggests these foods may be of great importance to the dietary quality of people living in close proximity to forests – especially in communities with poor access to markets. Despite widespread evidence of the consumption of forest foods around the world, to date, few studies have attempted to quantify the nutritional contributions these foods make. In this study we tested the hypothesis that the consumption of forest foods can make important contributions to dietary quality. We investigated the dietary contributions of wild forest foods in smallholder dominated forested landscapes from 37 sites in 24 tropical countries, using data from the Poverty and Environment Network (PEN). We compared quantities of forest foods consumed by households with dietary recommendations and national average consumption patterns. In addition, we compared the relative importance of forests and smallholder agriculture in supplying fruits, vegetables, meat and fish for household consumption. More than half of the households in our sample collected forest foods for their own consumption, though consumption patterns were skewed towards low-quantity users. For high-quantity consuming households, however, forest foods made a substantial contributions to their diets. The top quartile of forest food users in each site obtained 14.8% of the recommended amounts of fruits and vegetables, and 106% of the reference quantity of meat and fish from forests. In 13 sites, the proportion of meat and fish coming from forests was greater than from domestic livestock and aquaculture, while in 11 sites, households procured a greater proportion of fruits and vegetables from forests than from agriculture. Given high levels of heterogeneity in forest food consumption, we identify four forest food use site typologies to characterize the different use patterns: ‘forest food dependent’, ‘limited forest food use’, ‘forest food supplementation’ and ‘specialist forest food consumer’ sites. Our results suggest that while forest foods do not universally contribute significantly to diets, in some sites where large quantities of forest foods are consumed, their contribution towards dietary adequacy is substantial.

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Forests, Trees and Micronutrient-Rich Food Consumption in Indonesia

ickowitz

Abstract

Micronutrient deficiency remains a serious problem in Indonesia with approximately 100 million people, or 40% of the population, suffering from one or more micronutrient deficiencies. In rural areas with poor market access, forests and trees may provide an essential source of nutritious food. This is especially important to understand at a time when forests and other tree-based systems in Indonesia are being lost at unprecedented rates. We use food consumption data from the 2003 Indonesia Demographic Health Survey for children between the ages of one and five years and data on vegetation cover from the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry to examine whether there is a relationship between different tree-dominated land classes and consumption of micronutrient-rich foods across the archipelago. We run our models on the aggregate sample which includes over 3000 observations from 25 provinces across Indonesia as well as on sub-samples from different provinces chosen to represent the different land classes. The results show that different tree-dominated land classes were associated with the dietary quality of people living within them in the provinces where they were dominant. Areas of swidden/agroforestry, natural forest, timber and agricultural tree crop plantations were all associated with more frequent consumption of food groups rich in micronutrients in the areas where these were important land classes. The swidden/agroforestry land class was the landscape associated with more frequent consumption of the largest number of micronutrient rich food groups. Further research needs to be done to establish what the mechanisms are that underlie these associations. Swidden cultivation in is often viewed as a backward practice that is an impediment to food security in Indonesia and destructive of the environment. If further research corroborates that swidden farming actually results in better nutrition than the practices that replace it, Indonesian policy makers may need to reconsider their views on this land use.

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Direct contributions of dry forests to nutrition: a review

RowlanddryforestsAbstract

Globally, micronutrient deficiencies are more prevalent than calorie and protein deficiencies. In order to address global micronutrient deficiencies, increasing attention is being paid to the nutritional quality of people’s diets. While conventional agriculture is key for ensuring adequate calories, dietary quality depends on the consumption of a diverse range of micronutrient-rich foods. Many wild foods are rich in micronutrients, particularly fruits, vegetables, and animal source food. As a result there has been increasing interest in the value of wild foods to meeting nutritional requirements.

We review literature on the consumption of wild foods in dry forest areas to assess the current state of knowledge as to how dry forests may contribute to nutrition. We focus on papers that quantify consumption of wild forest foods. Although there is a great deal of literature that lends weight to the notion that dry forests are important for food security and nutrition, we find surprisingly little evidence of direct contributions to diets. Of 2514 articles identified by our search, only four quantify the consumption of wild foods from dry forests, and only one of these puts this consumption in the context of the entire diet. There is a need for research on the nutritional importance of dry forest foods which combines methodologies from nutrition science with an understanding and appreciation of the ecological, social, cultural and economic context.

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Drivers and effects of agrarian change in Kapuas Hulu Regency, West Kalimantan, Indonesia

Leonald and Rowland

Summary

This chapter examines the potential of the Kapuas Hulu Regency in West Kalimantan as a study site to examine the current drivers of land-use change in Indonesia and the effects of contemporary land-use change on livelihoods and food security. The chapter summarizes preliminary research undertaken in Indonesia as part of the Agrarian Change Project, a multi-country comparative research project conducted by CIFOR. Within the Indonesian component of the project, we focus on the expansion and intensification of oil palm plantations along an agricultural intensification gradient ranging from primary rainforest to monoculture palm oil plantations. We examine the effects of this agrarian change upon local livelihood strategies, economies and food security within nearby communities.

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Direct Contributions of Dry Forests to Nutrition: A Review

rowland immageAbstract

Globally, micronutrient deficiencies are more prevalent than calorie and protein deficiencies. In order to address global micronutrient deficien- cies, increasing attention is being paid to the nutritional quality of people’s diets. While conventional agriculture is key for ensuring adequate calories, dietary quality depends on the consumption of a diverse range of micronutrient rich foods. Many wild foods are rich in micronutrients, particularly fruits, vegetables, and animal source food. As a result there has been increasing interest in the value of wild foods to meeting nutritional requirements.

We review literature on the consumption of wild foods in dry forest areas to assess the current state of knowledge as to how dry forests may contribute to nutrition. We focus on papers that quantify consumption of wild forest foods. Although there is a great deal of literature that lends weight to the notion that dry forests are important for food security and nutrition, we find surprisingly little evidence of direct contributions to diets. Of 2514 articles identified by our search, only four quantify the consumption of wild foods from dry forests, and only one of these puts this consumption in the context of the entire diet. There is a need for research on the nutritional importance of dry forest foods which combines methodologies from nutrition science with an understanding and appreciation of the ecological, social, cultural and economic context.

 

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Rowland et al. 2015