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Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

SOAS to help boost impact of agriculture on nutrition in South Asia

7 February 2013

SOAS researchers are part of a new international collaboration, which aims to improve nutrition for young people in South Asia.

Members of SOAS’ Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP) are working within the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research in Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), which is one of the six partners in the ambitious new research programme

Their participation in the international partnership, launching this year, has secured funding from the UK government.

The research programme, Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA), will focus on how agriculture and food-related policies and interventions can be better designed to improve nutrition, with particular focus on children and adolescent girls.

Nearly half of South Asian children are stunted or underweight, and progress on reducing rates of under-nutrition is extremely slow. Prof Bhavani Shankar, the coordinator of SOAS research within LANSA, explained: “There is now substantial interest within the development community in working with the agriculture sector to help deliver nutrition goals. Nowhere is this more important than in South Asia, where alarming rates of under-nutrition persist despite substantial economic progress.”

LANSA CEO Prakash Shetty added: “Working together we will build stronger evidence to inform future policies and programmes in the region. We will develop research frameworks to provide comparative analysis of agricultural and social systems with a view to developing insights and solutions to maximise the potential of agriculture to reduce undernutrition. Building on existing regional partnerships and networks, LANSA aims to emerge as a powerful regional hub.”

The LANSA consortium is comprised of the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in India, BRAC (Bangladesh), Collective for Social Science Research (Pakistan), Institute of Development Studies (UK), International Food Policy Research Institute (USA) and the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (UK).

For more information contact Prof Bhavani Shankar, Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP), SOAS, at b.shankar@soas.ac.uk, or call 0207 958 8263.