SOAS University of London

SOAS scholar welcomes growing attention to agriculture and nutrition links at The Lancet symposium

7 June 2013

At a prestigious symposium in London this week, Andrew Dorward, Professor of Development Economics, SOAS, University of London highlighted the importance of development and market pathways when considering the impacts of agricultural change on nutrition.

The symposium, at Imperial College, marked the launch of the Lancet's 'Maternal and Child Nutrition' series. Led by Professor Robert Black, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, USA, a series of papers were presented followed by a panel discussion.

Professor Dorward spoke on coverage of nutrition sensitive agriculture in the paper ‘Nutrition Sensitive Programmes and Approaches’ and welcomed the paper in the context of growing interest in improving the impact of agricultural investments on nutrition.

Professor Dorward commented: “An agricultural perspective on the links between agriculture and nutrition might place more emphasis on income and development pathways, where agricultural development drives structural change in poor agrarian economies, and on 'market pathways', where producer - food system -  consumer interactions affect consumer nutrition, rather than focus almost exclusively on action on 'own production' programmes.

“A wide range of contextual factors, including dynamic processes of change and development, are critical determinants of the effectiveness of different agriculture system changes on nutrition - in particular, shifts between the relative importance of 'income/ development', 'market' and 'own production' pathways of agriculture-nutrition links for different groups of people.

“Action is needed to improve evidence and context specific understanding of what does and does not work, where and when for whom, new indicators are needed that measure change in agriculture's impacts on nutrition.”

SOAS is part of The Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) a collaboration of three Bloomsbury Colleges supported by the London International Development Centre (LIDC). LCIRAH is actively contributing to these events and to the research required to eliminate under-nutrition.

The 3rd LCIRAH Annual conference will take place on 13-14 June at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine and will focus on methodological and integrative aspects of research in agriculture and health. The conference will feature the work of researchers in nutrition, economics, anthropology, veterinary science and related fields engaged in agri-health research. It aims at offering the opportunity for exchange of ideas, while providing a space for discussion and initiating new projects across disciplines.

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For more information on the conference, visit the LCIRAH website.