Pathways to improved nutrition in the Ethiopian highlands: Do agricultural production systems address nutrition?
The food production system is an important part of nutrition; it includes the production, availability, access and desirability of food. It largely determines traditional consumption practices and shapes diets. So far, Ethiopia has made remarkable progress in addressing food insecurity through strong policies and multi-sectoral approaches at national level.
In its current agriculture strategy, much attention is paid to the production and productivity of high-yielding cereal crops to increase food availability. Agriculture offers a potentially strong pathway to nutrition; however, leveraging this potential requires a shift from a cereal-based production system to a more diversified production system; one that ensures availability and access to nutritious foods.
This brief reports on Africa RISING experiences integrating agriculture with nutrition in Ethiopia.
- Taking an inter-sectoral approach to agriculture will help leverage its contribution to improve the production and accessibility of nutritious foods.
- Reshaping the current production model from high yielding mono-cropping to a nutritionally-diversified production system encompassing vegetables, fruits, root crops, poultry and small ruminants will enhance household nutrition security.
- It is critical to invest in bio-fortification, fortification of cereals, improved agronomic practices and enhanced efficiency of fertilizer use to improve the nutritional quality of staple crops.
- Prioritizing nutrition-sensitive value chains for fruits, vegetables, animal-source foods (milk, cheese, butter, etc.), pulses and cereals is a high priority.
- Transforming traditional production practices and beliefs though intensive social behaviour change strategies is critical to improve nutrition outcomes.