Impacts of agriculture on nutrition: Nature of the evidence and research gaps

Demand for empirical evidence of “what works” for nutrition through agriculture has arguably never been higher. In the past few years, there has been a proliferation of interest in how to leverage agriculture to maximize its impacts on nutrition, particularly among mothers and children. The belief that “agriculture contributes not just to food production, but also to human nutrition and health” is widely held, and it underpins ongoing efforts globally to “make agricultural policies and programs nutrition-sensitive”. However, the search for solid empirical findings on “what works” in this arena has been stepped up as donors and national governments increasingly call for “evidence-informed policymaking” against a backdrop of demands for greater accountability, fiscal austerity, and enhanced credibility. Improved evaluation of agricultural programs intended to be nutrition sensitive is warranted for improved synergies in development program design. This paper synthesizes the results of 10 reviews conducted since 2000 to highlight their major conclusions and reflect on the implications of those conclusions for planned and future research. 

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