In the breakout session on “Leveraging Value Chains for better nutrition and food safety: Lessons for CGIAR Research”, Delia Grace from ILRI in Nairobi Kenya highlighted the importance of the informal sector. Research indicates that in many low income countries, e.g. milk is marketed via informal markets and this trend to supermarkets is not valid for all countries – also not with regards to consumer preferences.
Furthermore the informal sector is highly relevant for women who can sell their products in an informal way, but at the same time highly risky in terms of food safety.
Is the formal sector better?
Within the unconventional setting of wild animals of the African Savannah and images of the foods of people all around the globe, the researchers and participants of the Science Forum were enjoying the conference dinner on Monday evening.
If fish would be removed from peoples’ diet in Bangladesh, nothing else could replace that valuable nutrient-rich food. 70% of the Bangladeshi population is eating fish 7 to 14 times within two weeks. Studies prove the positive impact of small fish species on an improved dietary diversity. Moreover, the most important aspect of fish in terms of nutrition is that fish enhances the uptake of micronutrients from food eaten in the same meal. Not to forget, that consumers like the flavour and the added taste of fish to their meal.
The presentation Agricultural pathways to improved nutrition: getting the policies right by Prabhu Pingali focused on the creation of a policy environment which supports the Agriculture - Nutrition Nexus – instead of the current Agriculture versus Nutrition Silos!
The problem of how to align agricultural and food policies with nutritional and health targets had been examined from very distinct angles during the first 3 hours Policy and Institutional Approaches in nutrition-sensitive agriculture slot on Monday. It became clear, that the presented approaches themselves so far are not aligned, so that there seems to be huge potential for high quality research which helps to get an idea on how ‘multipolicy’ approaches can make an effective contribution to nutritional improvement.
We might often think of trees from an ecological point of view, delivering ecosystem services such as carbon sequestration or preventing soil erosion. But what about their dietary value? How can they contribute to improve food security and nutrition? Do children in areas with more trees have more diverse diets? Amy Ickowitz from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFR) addressed these questions during her presentation “Role for forests for nutrition” during the session “Diet diversification”.
Should women control the household finance? This is a hot topic among most families around the world, as well as a debate at Science Forum and Tropentag 2013. Scholars from different countries provide varied facts in rural areas and put academic results into practices.
Jemimah Njuki from CARE highlighted women played an important role in food production, ensuring adequate food, diverse diets and quality of food to the whole household. In general, women as primary care givers influence child nutrition directly through improved childcare practices, or indirectly through improvements in their own nutrition. Early studies showed, increasing women’s control over assets, mainly land, physical and financial assets, had positive effects on a number of important development outcomes for the household, including food security, child nutrition, and education, as well as women’s own well-being (Quisumbing 2003, Smith 2003; world bank 2001). In Bangladesh, a higher share of women’s assets is associated with better health outcomes for girls (Hallman 2000).
Gordon Prain, a Senior Scientist at the International Potato Centre, gave his opinion at Tropentag 2013 based on his field research in Kenya. He stated, in the agriculture system women are very important in the cultivation. If women do the job, they should control the finance resource . If women can decide which crops to grow, it would be beneficial to the children´s nutrition and the whole family.
'I’ve learned more than I have contributed', Linxiu Zhang of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences nicely summarized before handing over to Ken Cassman, the ISPC Chair. Cassman didn’t intend to stage dive when he asked the about 150 participants of the Science Forum Closing Session to raise their hands. But the show of hands indicated the people present from both disciplines, agriculture and nutrition, whom the conference –quite successfully- aimed to bring to getter. And out of their ‘silos’.