Making livestock research and programming more nutrition sensitive uri icon

abstract

  • Global efforts such as the Sustainable Development Goals recognize and underscore the significant role that human nutrition has on individual health and population-level development. Consequently, interdisciplinary and multi-stakeholder groups, such as the Global Alliance for Improving Nutrition and the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement, have been established to reduce under-nutrition, particularly in children and pregnant women. The concept of nutrition-sensitive agriculture has grown significantly in recent years, and the evidence indicates that integration of nutritional outcomes into agriculture programs has allowed these efforts to make important contributions to the reduction of malnutrition. However, when considering livestock as a subset of agricultural research and programming, nutritional objectives have been less effectively integrated into research and programming. The repercussions of this missed opportunity are exacerbated by the unique nutritional value of animal source foods (ASF) and its potential to increase dietary diversity and improve nutrition and health. Through a set of expert interviews with researchers and development practitioners in the areas of livestock and/or human nutrition, this article identifies factors that make livestock research and programs nutrition-sensitive and factors associated with livestock research/programs that fail to be nutrition-sensitive. Results indicate that an overly narrow focus on nutritional indicators, such as stunting, and target population (children) have hindered the uptake of nutrition-sensitive approaches. Experts indicate that interdisciplinary teams, longer and more iterative funding cycles, and integration of behavior change are elements livestock programs that successfully integrate nutrition. Implications of these and other findings for donors, researchers, and practitioners are presented.

publication date

  • 2020
  • 2020