5 ways to deliver nutrition through cash crop standards

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Nutrition security is an essential part of improving farmer livelihoods.

As such, a number of delivery channels within the agricultural system have been identified to reach farming families that suffer from malnutrition in developing countries. While the focus so far has been on food product supply chains, one new approach being explored by the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition focuses on delivering nutrition through cash-crop supply chains..

Cash crops in themselves have relatively low nutritional value, but the agricultural system around them can serve as a perfect delivery channel for nutrition interventions.

In recent years, numerous certification standards like Fairtrade, Rainforest Alliance or UTZ Certified have been adopted to ensure a more sustainable future for cash-crop farmers. These schemes offer codes of conduct to guide good practice, as well as a supporting system of local guidelines, training modules, educational programs and household surveys.

Nutrition-sensitive interventions could be integrated into these schemes through many different approaches. Since standards use different routes and approaches, the possible interventions can be grouped into individual and joint activities. Here are five ways to achieve nutrition-secure cash-crop supply chains.

On an individual level, standards systems could:

1. Incorporate nutrition-sensitive criteria into their codes of conduct. Codes could stipulate the need for nutritious canteen meals for workers as well as on-site child care and breastfeeding facilities. They could promote nutrition security by promoting the need for safe drinking water, toilets and handwashing places, as well as clean cooking and eating facilities for workers.

2. Include nutritional advice in their local interpretation guidelines. This could feature advice on how to use nutritious fruit and nut trees as shade trees or requirements for the diversification and intercropping of nutritious crops.

Source: Devex (link opens in a new window)

Agriculture, Health Care
Base of the Pyramid, clean cooking, nutrition, poverty alleviation