Agri-food systems

Lead Organization:

Lilongwe University of Agriculture & Natural Resources (LUANAR)

Partner Organizations:

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development (Government of Malawi)

Community of Practice:

East & Southern Africa, Farmer research network (FRN)

Countries:

Malawi

Duration:

11/2019—11/2020

Overview:

Despite being a largely agro-based economy, Malawi suffers from high rates of food insecurity and poor nutrition. A gap exists in knowledge and tools for nutrition-sensitive agriculture approaches and in tailoring options to local contexts and environments. The project aims to strengthen integration of nutrition into agriculture decision-making and contribute to sustainable local food systems to support nutrition in the Ntcheu, Kasungu, and Mzimba districts of Malawi. It will develop implementation processes and build local capacity for using the new MCDA tool, Agrifood, to support decisions on improving local food systems and diets while addressing AEI, gender equity, livelihoods, and sustainability issues.

The project will be a valuable addition to ESAf CoP and the wider agricultural development community, adding a nutrition decision tool to the portfolio. Area farmer research networks (FRNs) are central to the process, as they have been effective in increasing knowledge, development, and application of AEI innovations in the context of soil health. Operationalization of Agrifood provides an opportunity to widen this to improving local agri-food systems and nutrition.

Grant Aims:

To strengthen the integration of nutrition into agriculture decision-making and contribute to sustainable improvements in local food systems to support nutrition in the Ntcheu, Kasungu, and Mzimba districts of Malawi.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Creation of an operational manual adapted to the Malawi context describing procedures for applying Agrifood to support farmer-led decision-making in NSAP design
  • Design of programs to increase the production and/or consumption of nutritious foods so that Malawi organizations can understand trade-offs from multi-sectoral perspectives, including farmers, which should increase chances of long-term program success
  • Increased understanding and documentation of processes critical to facilitating Agrifood for illuminating cross-sectoral stakeholder perspectives on key trade-offs
  • More effective and sustainable intervention options designed to increase the production and/or consumption of nutritious foods, considering trade-offs identified by multi-sector stakeholders
  • Improved knowledge, skills, attitudes, and motivation required for FRNs, agriculture extension services, and nutrition workers
  • Nutritional adequacy of local food systems strengthened through informed decision-making related to integrating nutrition, agriculture, and environment in agricultural extension and health interventions
  • Selection by participants of available nutritious crops and/or livestock options for production or consumption
  • Promotion of interventions for increasing the production and diversification of nutritious crops and/or smallholder livestock available for strengthening local dietary adequacy and agroecological sustainability taken up by partner organizations