Farming System for Nutrition-a pathway to dietary diversity: Evidence from India

TitleFarming System for Nutrition-a pathway to dietary diversity: Evidence from India
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2021
AuthorsPradhan A, Raju S., Nithya D.J, Panda AKumar, Wagh RD, Maske MR, Bhavani R.V
JournalPLOS ONE
Volume16
Start Page1
Issue3
End page20
Date Published18/03/2021
KeywordsFSN
Abstract

Farming is the main livelihood of a majority of people in India. The country is also home to a
large population of undernourished people. This indicates potential for mainstreaming the
nutrition dimension in the farming system to impact on nutrition outcomes. A Farming System
for Nutrition (FSN) study was conducted in two agro-ecologically different locations
from 2013–2018, to explore the feasibility of nutrition-sensitive agricultural interventions.
The baseline survey in 2013–2014 revealed that the population in the study area was largely
undernourished and that household diets were cereal-dominated. The FSN model was
designed in consultation with community members, to increase availability of nutrient-dense
cereals and pulses, by enhancing production and crop diversification at the farm level, promoting
cultivation of nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables in nutrition gardens and supporting
interventions to promote access to animal foods. Nutrition awareness initiatives were undertaken to build capacity at the local level and translate production diversity to consumption diversity. An endline survey was conducted in 2017 (July-October), following three years of intervention. Crop, vegetable and animal food production and food consumption was compared with the baseline data. There was evidence of higher production and consumption of nutrient rich foods, improved household dietary diversity; and understanding and acceptance of nutrition-sensitive agriculture. The number of items consumed under each food group, frequency of consumption of food and average per capita intake of nutrient-rich foods were found to have improved. The results provide evidence regarding feasibility of location specific FSN models to promote sustainable and healthy diets, using locally available plant and animal food resources, to address nutrition deficiencies in farm families.

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