Despite encouraging progress in strengthening nutrition policies and improving nutritional outcomes, under-nutrition remains a significant public health problem in Ethiopia; in 2014, stunting, wasting and underweight of children under five were estimated at 40%, 20% and 9% (Ethiopian Mini Demographic and Health Survey 2014). Although Ethiopia recognized the problem and set clear goals under the National Nutrition Program, local implementation remains weak.
Women and children in the Ethiopian highlands are particularly vulnerable to micronutrient deficiencies resulting from poor diets and sub optimal care feeding practices. In these communities, agriculture offers a potentially strong pathway to improve nutrition outcomes.
This brief reports on Africa RISING experiences integrating agriculture with nutrition in Ethiopia.
- Assessing policy implementation and local institutional capacity gaps helps development actors select “best fit interventions” addressing nutrition through agriculture.
- Agricultural policymakers should take a more comprehensive approach to food security – beyond agricultural productivity also focusing on balanced nutrition.
- Woreda and kebele level agricultural experts and decision makers need to step up their commitment to mainstream nutrition into all agricultural interventions.
- Existing agricultural and health extension actors need to ensure their interventions are harmonized as a first step towards strengthening local institutional capacity.
- Local institutions must do more to promote diverse and nutritionally-rich foods across farming systems.
- Transforming the constraining norms and attitudes about women’s roles, and their access to and control over productive resources, will enhance their ability to enhance household nutrition security.