June 20, 2017
Written by FANTA Project III
In the past, good nutrition and health were seen primarily as outputs of agricultural programming and activities, but not anymore. Now, we know they are also critical inputs for improving agricultural productivity and economic growth. Research published in The Lancet’s 2008 Maternal and Child Nutrition series has shown that good nutrition during the first 1,000 days is important for individuals to reach their full growth potential and to have optimal ability to learn and work throughout their lives.
To support the integration of nutrition into agriculture programming, the USAID Bureaus for Food Security and Global Health funded an online course, Nutrition-Sensitive Agricultural Programming, that introduces the fundamentals of nutrition-sensitive agriculture and provides guidelines for designing nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs. Developed by FHI 360’s Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance III project (FANTA) and Michigan State University, the course helps agriculture development program managers and staff to plan, design, and implement integrated agriculture and nutrition programs that focus on smallholder farmers and support good nutrition outcomes. It is hosted on Feed the Future’s Agrilinks website.
One of the course architects, Kimberly Chung, who is an associate professor in Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, believes the course helps give program staff the skills to bridge the gap between agriculture and nutrition programs: “Through this course, we’re looking to improve our abilities to support good health and nutrition outcomes through agricultural programming, not instead of agricultural programming.”