Report charts path for ‘Nutrition Revolution’ in Africa

caadpThe Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP) is having a positive impact in countries that have implemented its recommendations, according to the Annual Trends and Outlook Report (ATOR) released today. The report outlines how agriculture and food systems can improve food security and improve the health and productivity in Africa.

The ATOR, was released by the Regional Strategic Analysis and Knowledge Support System (ReSAKSS), a program facilitated by the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in partnership with other Africa based CGIAR centers. The report examines the current status of nutrition in Africa, including progress in meeting Malabo nutrition targets, and emphasizes the importance of dietary quality and diversity. It also addresses how the agricultural sectors can ensure that food systems deliver more nutritious and nutrient dense foods.

The ATOR emphasizes the importance of strengthening human and institutional capacities for mainstreaming nutrition, wider implementation of programs and coordinating policies and programs across sectors more efficiently. Including nutrition indicators in national monitoring, and evaluation systems is essential for holding governments accountable.

“Improving food security is not only about making sure people are consuming adequate calories, but ensuring that diets provide adequate nutrients for the healthy growth and development of Africa’s children and the health and wellbeing of all people,” said Ousmane Badiane, IFPRI Director for Africa. “This report shows that policymakers must not only monitor nutrition outcomes but set ambitious targets and design appropriate strategies to achieve these. The first step to reducing poverty and promoting economic growth in Africa is to reduce hunger and malnutrition which rob the continent of its human resource potential.”

The report found:

Statistics and trends indicate a need for more concerted effort in tackling a triple burden of malnutrition in Africa that includes reducing undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity.

The potential nutritional impact of existing food policies (including agricultural subsidies) should be reviewed, and reforms should be initiated for those policies that are likely to have adverse effects on people’s dietary quality and body weight.

Comprehensive monitoring and evaluation systems, complete with key nutrition indicators and contextualized evidence, are needed to evaluate the impact of comprehensive investment plans on nutrition and attainment of the international, continental, and national commitments for growth, development, and nutrition.

Overall, the analysis of CAADP indicators shows that countries that have been in the CAADP process the longest and those that have gone through most of the levels of the CAADP process have tended to register better outcomes in most of the indicators reviewed, thus highlighting the positive impact of CAADP.

It is essential to harness the potential for science, technology, and innovation to reduce postharvest losses and food waste; promote product diversification with nutritious foods; improve processing to extend shelf life and make healthy foods easier to prepare; and improve storage and preservation to retain nutritional value, ensure food safety, and extend seasonal availability.

The ATOR includes chapters that discuss policies related to nutrition, the economic effects of nutrition interventions, past successes in improving nutrition in Africa, the harmful effects of aflatoxins, and more. The report was released today at the 2016 ReSAKSS Annual Conference in Accra, Ghana. The conference is organized by IFPRI in partnership with the African Union Commission.