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Nutrition Research Aims to Make Food Security Investments More Effective

It is no small task to simultaneously deliver improvements in agricultural productivity and profitability for smallholder producers while also improving child nutrition in rural households, though this is a central goal of Feed the Future programming.

To figure out how to do just that, Feed the Future partners with U.S. Land Grant Universities to carry out international food and agriculture research. Under Feed the Future, American universities work with counterparts in developing countries, international agricultural research institutions, U.S. agribusiness, U.S. federal agencies such as USDA, and many others to deliver health, nutrition, and agricultural assistance in ways that lead to cost-effective and sustainable improvements in the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and their families.

One of these partnerships is the Global Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program (CRSP), a five-year research agreement launched in 2010 focusing on Feed the Future countries in Africa and Asia. Managed by Tufts University (in partnership with Harvard University, Johns Hopkins University, Purdue University, and Tuskegee University), the Nutrition CRSP aims to discover how policy interventions can most effectively achieve large-scale improvements in child nutrition outcomes by generating robust empirical evidence on which kinds of nutrition and health interventions provide the greatest returns on country investment.

In March 2012, the Nutrition CRSP held a symposium on agriculture, food security, and nutrition in Nepal and a workshop in Uganda. Convening stakeholders from government, NGOs, academia, and research institutions, these meetings enabled participants to collaboratively evaluate existing evidence on nutrition interventions, identify gaps in research, and prioritize future research needs. They also increased policymakers’ understanding of how research can inform ambitious policy agendas in health, nutrition, and agriculture.

The Nutrition CRSP is also playing an important role in capacity building at the country level. To date, it has provided short-term training to more than a dozen Ugandan and Nepali professionals, and recruited another dozen Ugandan and Nepali students into degree programs. It has also been successful in working with the Government of Nepal to establish a dedicated technical advisory body of 17 representatives of ministries and academia aimed at facilitating adoption of research findings into practical policy and program solutions. 

Download a one-page summary on the Global Nutrition CRSP or learn more about Feed the Future’s Research Strategy.

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