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Poverty reduction through nutritious foods

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, Cornelia Richter.

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.

Spotlight

Recipes For Change: Chef Bowerman’s take on cooking from home under lockdown

As the world adjusts to life with COVID-19, we’re asking our Recipes for Change chefs to share some world-class recipes that you can make with ingredients you’ve already got in your home cupboard. Michelin-starred Chef Cristina Bowerman shares two simple and nutritious recipes involving chickpeas.

Projects

Benin

The Market Gardening Development Support Project
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Niger

Food Security and Development Support Project in the Maradi Region
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Lao People's Democratic Republic

Southern Laos Food and Nutrition Security and Market Linkages Programme
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Sao Tome and Principe and IFAD partner to improve nutrition and incomes in face of climate change

February 2020 - NEWS
IFAD today announced support for a new project to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 34,800 rural farmers of Sao Tome and Principe, an island country highly affected by climate change.

Mali’s President calls for solidarity as food crisis escalates across Sahel

February 2020 - NEWS
Against a backdrop of an escalating security crisis where 4.3 million women, men and children are at risk of increased food insecurity and starvation in Mali, Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta, President of the Republic of Mali, launched an urgent call to the global community to combine efforts and show solidarity in order to eradicate hunger and poverty in the Sahel.

Mozambique and IFAD join to combat climate change and increase food security

February 2020 - NEWS

IFAD today announced support for a new programme to increase incomes, improve food and nutrition security and build the resilience of at least 902,500 rural Mozambican farmers, in one of the African countries most affected by climate change.

Related publications

Good Practice Brief: Fostering sustainability and resilience for food security in Niger

March 2020
This brief highlights a project in Niger that is tackling climate change and land degradation and scaling up sustainable natural resource management for family farming.

Resilient Food Systems 2018-2019 Annual Report

March 2020
Discover how the Resilient Food Systems programme is enhancing long-term sustainability and resilience for food security in sub-Saharan Africa.

IFAD’s Case for Investment: Investing in rural prosperity, food and resilience to reduce poverty and hunger in a changing climate

February 2020

Today we stand at a critical juncture – historic progress in reducing hunger has stalled and the successes of recent decades are being reversed.

Related documents

IFAD Action Plan Nutrition 2019-2025

August 2019 - CORPORATE
This Nutrition Action Plan (NAP) 2019 2025 sets out the framework to guide IFAD’s actions to accelerate mainstreaming of nutrition into its investments.

Videos

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Bangladesh: Small fish, big gains
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Laos: Nutritious Entertainment
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Mozambique: Living Healthy
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Bolivia: Crazy for Quinoa
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India: Millet Madness