SOAS University of London

Centre for Development, Environment and Policy (CeDEP)

LANSA: Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia

Staff member(s)

Time period 

The six year DFID-funded research consortium will run from 2013 and 2018

Funding for this project runs for six years 


In addition to LCIRAH, colleagues involved in the research programme come from a range of other institutions in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan and elsewhere:

Objectives and scope

The multidisciplinary, multinational team will be examining how agricultural development efforts can be linked to improve nutrition and health outcomes in four South Asian countries, where nutrition standards of vulnerable groups are among the lowest in the world: nearly half of all South Asia’s young children are stunted, and the rate of progress in reducing under nutrition has slowed to a crawl in the past decade. Ensuring nutrition security in the region can only occur through a combination of direct nutrition interventions and indirect interventions such as broad-based agricultural growth. The core question that LANSA will address is:
“How can South Asian agriculture and related food polices and interventions be designed and implemented to increase their impacts on nutrition, especially the nutritional status of children and adolescent girls?”

There are three pillars to the research, which will investigate:
  1. How enabling is the wider context in linking agriculture and food systems to other determinants of nutritional status?
  2. How can the nutrition impacts of agriculture and agri-food value chains be enhanced through appropriate strategies and policies?
  3. How strong is the evidence that agricultural interventions can be pro-nutrition?

Bhavani and Nigel are working primarily on pillar 2. Research will include a mix of analyses of secondary data, and collection and analyses of primary data, on agri-food policies, interventions, health data and value chains.

Three cross-cutting themes affecting the agriculture-nutrition nexus are:

  • innovation systems to bridge the divide between agriculture and nutrition
  • women's empowerment in agriculture and nutrition and in the value chains which link both sectors
  • fragile institutional and environmental contexts which hinder policies and interventions

Afghanistan is the fourth country included in the research, where issues of 'gender' and 'fragility' are so publicly evident. One of the tasks is to identify partners in Kabul and elsewhere who are willing and able to participate in primary research in the challenging security environment, with increasing uncertainty likely after the forthcoming withdrawal of Western troops.

Bhavani Shankar and Nigel Poole from CeDEP, SOAS attend the LANSA programme in Chennai