Nutrition


A4NH 2019 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has just released its 2019 annual report, highlighting activities and accomplishments from its five research flagships, cross-cutting work on gender and equity, and partnerships that have led to research outcomes in over 20 countries.

These include:

  • empowering stakeholders at national level to build food systems that support healthier diets;
  • generating research evidence on the nutritional and health benefits of biofortification;
  • supporting international developments in food safety with quality research and engagement;
  • engaging in global conversations on food systems, nutrition and diets; and
  • linking research and policy to achieve results on critical zoonotic diseases.

Access the A4NH 2019 annual report or read the interactive online summary.

Aflatoxin research at the BecA-ILRI Hub (photo credit: ILRI/Paul Karaimu).

The Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions (IMMANA) program has called for a third round of applications for its competitive research grants. 

The research grants are aimed at accelerating the development of innovative and interdisciplinary methods, metrics and tools to advance scientific understanding of the linkages between agriculture and food systems and health and nutrition outcomes, in order to better inform policy and programmatic actions to improve nutrition outcomes in low- and middle-income countries.

This workstream of the IMMANA program is led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. So far, 15 research grants of up to £250,000 have been awarded over two rounds (Round 1 and Round 2). There will be two funding rounds (Rounds 3 and 4) for the IMMANA Phase 2 grants. Each IMMANA grant will be a maximum of £250,000 and up to eight grants are expected to be awarded through a competitive selection process in each round (total of 16). Applications for Round 3 grants are now open.

For more information about eligibility, the selection process and timelines, visit https://immana.lcirah.ac.uk/grants.

On World Food Day 2019, we highlight a recent article by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute that summarizes the current state of knowledge on the role of livestock products for nutrition, with emphasis on the first 1000 days of life for individuals living in low-income countries.

Meat, milk and eggs are nutrient-rich products that could efficiently boost nutrient-poor diets either as part of the normal diet or if access is increased through interventions.

The article, published in the journal Animal Frontiers (Oct 2019), considers the nutritional importance of livestock products, the evidence base for their impact on health and nutrition, and the major externalities concerned with their production.

The authors note that promoting the intake of livestock products among resource-limited populations will require specific feasibility and sustainability studies to be conducted to ensure those foods are available and affordable to the target populations.

Citation
Alonso, S., Dominguez-Salas, P. and Grace, D. 2019. The role of livestock products for nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life. Animal Frontiers 9(4): 24–31. https://doi.org/10.1093/af/vfz033

CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health 2018 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2018 annual report, highlighting program activities and research results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and five focus countries. These include:

  • research into consumer choices, motives and barriers through the lens of vegetable consumption in urban Nigeria;
  • building the evidence base with newly-published research that shows biofortified high-iron pearl millet can significantly improve nutrition and cognitive performance;
  • significant research contributions to help policymakers and consumers understand food safety issues and risks;
  • how agriculture and nutrition interventions delivered through community-based childcare centres can impact nutrient intake, dietary diversity and nutritional status;
  • improving hospital diagnostics for human brucellosis; and
  • an exploration of gender research projects being conducted under A4NH.

Typical milk bar in Kenya

One of Kenya’s many ‘milk bars’ (photo credit: ILRI/Dave Elsworth).

Training of milk vendors in Kenya’s informal dairy sector could be a pathway to progressively bring the informal sector under the food safety regulatory systems, says a new study by scientists from the International Livestock Research Institute and the International Institute for Development and Environment.

The informal dairy sector in Kenya contributes to nutrition security, health and livelihoods. However, concerns over milk safety have seen the sector de-legitimized. Training and capacity-building of those operating in the sector has the potential to deliver on multiple development outcomes, over and above improved food safety.

The study, which is published in Global Food Security (September 2018), examined the incentives and challenges to operating in the informal dairy sector in two urban areas in Kenya (Eldoret and Kisumu) and the perceived benefits and socio-economics effects of training. A survey of informal dairy vendors and testing of milk was also carried out in the two regions to assess milk safety and handling practices and their relation to training.

It was noted that the informal dairy sector in Kenya is an important source of livelihood opportunities, especially for women. Training of milk vendors improved sales, reduced milk losses and helped expand the businesses of vendors; however, the long-term effects of training on milk quality are not evident. Accessibility and clear incentives to participate in training could maximize impact and sustainability.

Based on this qualitative assessment, it is recommended that rigorous scientific studies be conducted to confirm and measure the magnitude of those impacts on health, nutrition and societal outcomes derived from training and capacity building activities in the informal dairy sector.

Access the journal article, Beyond food safety: Socio-economic effects of training informal dairy vendors in Kenya

Citation
Alonso, S., Muunda, E., Ahlberg, S., Blackmore, E. and Grace, D. 2018. Beyond food safety: Socio-economic effects of training informal dairy vendors in Kenya. Global Food Security 18: 86–92.

A4NH 2017 annual report cover

The CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) has published its 2017 annual report which highlights the program’s accomplishments and activities during the first year of its second phase.

Detailed in the report are research, events and results from across A4NH’s five research flagships and four focus countries, including:

  • in-depth analyses of food systems in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Vietnam, with a recently released report on findings in Ethiopia;
  • details on the release of 29 new biofortified crop varieties, extending reach to 3.6 million farming households;
  • the first licence for Aflasafe to be granted to a private company in Africa, for production, sale, and distribution in the Gambia and Senegal to protect crops from aflatoxin;
  • a special issue of the journal Global Food Security dedicated to stories of change, an innovative initiative building a resource base of experiential knowledge that explores drivers of change in improving nutrition;
  • research into how rice intensification in Africa can be achieved without increasing the risk of malaria; and
  • efforts on incorporating equity into A4NH’s research agenda.

Download the annual report or read an interactive online version.

ILRI news

Cover of a new report,The influence of livestock-derived foods on nutrition during the first 1,000 days of life, by Delia Grace, Paula Dominguez-Salas, Silvia Alonso, Mats Lannerstad, Emmanuel Muunda and Nicholas Ngwili, all of ILRI, and Abbas Omar, Mishal Khan and Eloghene Otobo of Chatham House, 2018, ILRI Research Report 44. Nairobi, Kenya: ILRI.

There is great potential for

food produced from livestock

to contribute to better health

in low-income populations.

—Review by the International Livestock Research Institute
and the Chatham House Centre on Global Health Security

Global efforts to limit or reduce

the consumption of meat, milk and eggs

over environmental concerns

should exclude pregnant and breastfeeding women

and babies under the age of two,

especially in low-income settings

where other sources of protein and micronutrients

are not available or not customarily used.

An extensive review of research found demonstrable nutritional benefits of providing children, particularly in…

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Panel discussion at the 'Growing with dairy' meeting held at ILRI Nairobi, 9 March 2018

Erastus Kang’ethe (standing) facilitates a panel discussion at the ‘Growing with Dairy’ meeting. The panel members (left to right) are Johanna Lindahl from ILRI, Humphrey Mbugua from the Association of Kenya Feed Manufacturers and Margaret Aleke from the Kenya Bureau of Standards (photo credit: ILRI/Emmanuel Muunda).

Representatives from the dairy sector in Kenya met at the Nairobi campus of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in March 2018 for a one-day meeting organized to present the research findings and plans of two dairy projects that ILRI is undertaking in collaboration with other partners: Measuring and mitigating the risk of mycotoxins in maize and dairy products for poor consumers in Kenya (MyDairy) and MoreMilk: making the most of milk (MoreMilk).

The meeting, dubbed Growing with Dairy, brought together 33 participants representing different stakeholder groups in Kenya’s dairy sector including industry, government, consumers, academia and development organizations.

Presentations by the principal investigators of the MyDairy and MoreMilk projects discussed various activities and interventions aimed at improving the dairy sector in Kenya and boosting the health and economic benefits that Kenyans derive from the sector.

The meeting also provided an opportunity to disseminate research findings, receive feedback on ongoing and planned activities, and align project objectives with the needs of public and private actors in the dairy sector in Kenya.

The MyDairy project was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Finland and implemented between 2012 and 2018 in two phases: an initial four-year phase followed by a second phase of 1.5 years. The project aimed at mitigating the risks of aflatoxins in the dairy value chain in Kenya.

The MoreMilk project is a five-year initiative (2016–2021) funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the United Kingdom government that works to upgrade milk hygiene and quality standards in the informal dairy value chain and maximize economic, health and nutrition benefits, especially for the poorest communities in Nairobi.

Download the Growing with Dairy meeting report

Fish market in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia, photo by Jamie Oliver, 2007

Fish market in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia (photo credit: WorldFish/Jamie Oliver).

Agrilinks is an online community for food security and agricultural development practitioners. During the month of March 2018, Agrilinks shines the spotlight on the topic of food safety, with a series of feature articles and resources by food safety experts on how households and farmers can ensure the safety of their crops and animal-sourced foods and prevent post-harvest losses.

In her article, Delia Grace, joint program leader for Animal and Human Health at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), gives an overview of the food safety research activities of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). Grace also leads the A4NH flagship program on food safety.

She calls for collaborative approaches to knowledge-sharing towards improved food safety, nutrition and health of people throughout the world.

“Collaboration and knowledge-sharing will be key in addressing food safety challenges, and this collaboration must include the formal and informal markets, policymakers, researchers, and public and private sectors,” she says.

Read the article, Food safety: March spotlight needs year-round attention

ILRI Clippings

The interview below, Could animal-sourced protein really solve the world’s hunger crisis?, of veterinary epidemiologist and food safety expert Delia Grace, of the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), was originally published in the Oct 2017 ‘Food and Nutrition Security’ issue of the monthly newsletter for Health for Animals. Both display quote graphics below are by Health for Animals.

Each year, 161 million children under the age of five lack the nutrients they require for their development.

This malnourishment causes stunting—both physical and cognitive—and ultimately costs our world 4.5 trillion US dollars in economic impacts each year.

In a world where extreme poverty has fallen in recent decades, this ‘hidden hunger’ can often be forgotten.

‘With such a huge problem to tackle and FAO’s World Hunger Day on October 16th, we spoke to Dr Delia Grace, Programme Director at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI), based in…

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