With nutrition expert Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted winning the 2021 World Food Prize for her groundbreaking research into the nutritional value of small indigenous fish species in Bangladesh and Cambodia, the term “nutrition-sensitive agriculture” has gained traction as a way to define agriculture investments made with the objective of improving nutrition and ensuring food security.
What is Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture (NSA)?
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, nutrition-sensitive agriculture is a food-based approach to agricultural development that puts nutritionally rich foods, dietary diversity, and food fortification at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.
In other words, farming is nutrition-sensitive if it addresses the underlying causes of malnutrition.
Areas of Implementation
Nutrition-sensitive agricultural production, according to the UN food agency, can be implemented in three main areas:
• Making food more available and accessible
• Making food itself more nutritious
• Making food more diverse and production more sustainable
Key Benefits of Nutrition-Sensitive Farming
• Investments in NSA can be leveraged not only to deliver benefits to secure food security, but also to contribute to efforts to eradicate malnutrition.
• Nutrition-sensitive agriculture also provides nutrition education so that hard-earned income is spent on more nutritious food choices, especially that of women and young children.
• Promoting NSA can help smallholders to be more resilient and is likely to improve dietary quality.
• This approach can also reduce nutritional disorders and contribute to the prevention of diet-related diseases later in life.
To conclude, governments across the world need to incorporate nutrition-sensitive strategies into their policies and programmes to eliminate the menace of malnutrition.