Worldwide, approximately three billion people have poor-quality diets and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Nearly 25 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically undernourished.
Malnutrition causes health problems and losses in economic productivity, including GDP losses. Over the course of their lifetimes, malnourished individuals can earn 10 per cent less than those who are well-nourished.
Without access to adequate, affordable, nutritious food, generations remain trapped in poverty, unable to take advantage of educational and job opportunities to fulfil their potential.
Investing in nutrition through agriculture is not only socially responsible, it is sound development policy and good economics. Its impact is multi-generational, allowing children to reach their full physical and intellectual potential, so that they can grow into healthy adults and lift themselves out of poverty.
At the forefront of nutrition-sensitive agriculture
Improving food security through better food production systems is at the heart of IFAD’s work. We design our projects through a nutrition- and gender-sensitive lens, helping rural people to improve their diets by growing and consuming diverse, nutritious, safe and affordable foods.
To combat malnutrition, we combine our solid technical knowledge with investments in nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture, through unique food-based approaches. We finance nutritional education and support actions that reshape food systems and improve nutrition security.
We also pay special attention to the role of women and adolescent girls, who make up a large percentage of the workforce in agriculture and food systems in developing countries. They are also the safeguards of nutritious diets in their households.
Empowering women by improving their knowledge of nutrition, as well as promoting maternal nutrition and nutrition of adolescent girls, dietary intake, and hygiene behaviours, can reduce undernutrition for entire generations.
Gender-sensitive agricultural projects help ensure women have more control over resources and that both rural men and women understand the important role that they can play in supporting good nutrition.
Climate change exacerbates the already vast burden of malnutrition and undermines current efforts to reduce hunger and promote nutrition.
As a result, IFAD has increased its commitment to providing resources for issues related to nutrition and is mainstreaming nutrition, gender and climate change actions across all of its programmes and projects.
We promote dialogue among concerned partners, including ministries of agriculture and health, as well as between other areas of government and civil society. This strengthens understanding, brokers collaboration, and promotes new pathways for nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture.
IFAD also taps into other reservoirs of knowledge and collaborates with institutions with specialized research skills such as national agricultural research centres and international institutes.
Worldwide knowledge-sharing and collaboration
Governments and development partners around the world are increasingly focused on nutrition-enhancing agricultural investments.
More than 50 countries have now committed to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, a clear demonstration that nutrition is high on the global agenda.
IFAD plays an active role in the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), a platform dedicated to an open, substantive and constructive dialogue on global nutrition strategies and initiatives. The UNSCN is currently chaired by IFAD's Vice-President Michel Mordasini.
Food and nutrition security is both an indicator and a driver of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It is also an investment in the future.
For this reason, the scope of global malnutrition demands a robust and collaborative approach, driven by the local realities of smallholders and rural food systems.
Amidst drought and flooding, Malawian farmers look to diversify their diet
IFAD technical assistance agreement to help boost agriculture production and food security in Saudi Arabia
IFAD and Indonesia invest US$55 million to sustainably improve smallholder farmers` incomes and livelihoods
FAO, IFAD and WFP join efforts to eradicate hunger and malnutrition in Latin America and the Caribbean
Results Series Issue 18 - Do agricultural support and cash transfer programmes improve nutritional status?
Cash transfer and agricultural support programmes are both used to improve nutrition outcomes in developing countries. This paper examines previous reviews of the impact of these programmes and compares the evidence between the two. The paper finds that, although there are about the same number of programmes of each type, many more papers have been written about the cash transfer programmes than the agricultural programmes. While evidence suggests that both programme types improved the quality of food consumption, the paper concludes that both types show weak evidence of improvements in anthropometric outcomes.
The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2017
This year’s edition of The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World marks the beginning of a new era in monitoring the progress made towards achieving a world without hunger and malnutrition, within the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Specifically, the report will henceforth monitor progress towards both the targets of ending hunger and all forms of malnutrition.
It will also include thematic analyses of how food security and nutrition are related to progress on other SDG targets. Given the broadened scope to include a focus on nutrition, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) have joined the traditional partnership of FAO, IFAD and WFP in preparing this annual report.
We hope our expanded partnership will result in a more comprehensive and integral understanding of what it will take to end hunger and all forms of malnutrition, and in more-integrated actions to achieve this critical goal.
The Nutrition Advantage Harnessing nutrition co-benefits of climate-resilient agriculture
Climate change and malnutrition are among the greatest problems in the twentyfirst century; they are “wicked problems”, difficult to describe, with multiple causes, and no single solution. The impacts of climate change have become evident in crop, livestock and fisheries systems, threatening all aspects of food security, including access, utilization and price stability (Porter et al., 2014).
On the other hand, malnutrition, including undernutrition, overnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies, is having devastating impacts on global health and economy. In this report, we examine how investments in climate-resilient agriculture can be leveraged not only to deliver benefits to secure food security under a changing climate, but also to contribute to efforts to eradicate malnutrition.