Results of Farming Systems for Nutrition study showcased in International Conference

Results from the Farming System Nutrition study (http://lansasouthasia.org/content/farming-system-nutrition) under the LANSA research programme were presented at the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy week 2018 in Accra, Ghana from 27 to 29 June 2018.  More than 300 participants from 18 countries around the world attended the conference. Two posters were presented, titled: “Impact of interventions with a Farming Systems for Nutrition focus on household food consumption pattern: Lessons from rural India” by S.Raju (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dcRA2VOpuY8) and “Impact of nutrition sensitive agriculture on household dietary diversity” by D.J.Nithya  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FYANX69Ar14&feature=youtu.be).

The FSN study design primarily focused on increasing the availability of nutrient dense crops, viz.  millets and pulses, fruits and vegetables accompanied by nutrition awareness, in the two study locations, Wardha in Maharashtra and Koraput in Odisha. The crop interventions included: sorghum, wheat and pulses (redgram, greengram, bengalgram and blackgram) in Wardha and finger millet, maize and pulses (redgram, blackgram and greengram) in Koraput; Orange flesh sweet potato (OFSP) was introduced to address vitamin A deficiency; and Nutrition garden of natural and biofortified vegetables and fruits were promoted in both locations (http://lansasouthasia.org/content/crop-based-demonstrations-and-trials-under-farming-system-nutrition-study-2013%E2%80%9016 ).

The endline survey in 2017 showed that the average intake of foods by households had increased in both locations. The proportion of households sourcing food from their own production was also found to have increased.

The food frequency data showed that both the number of items consumed under each food group and frequency of consumption of particularly pulses, vegetables and fruits increased in both the locations compared to baseline.

In Wardha, the percentage of households having household dietary diversity score (HDDS) of 6 (7 being the maximum) increased from 37.5% at baseline to 41.3% at endline as there was a shift from households having HDDS 5 to 6. In Koraput, the percentage of households having HDDS of 6 increased from 19% at baseline to 42% at endline and HDDS of 7 from nil at baseline to 5.3% at endline. 

The average consumption of cereals and pulses in Wardha was found to have improved after the intervention and met the recommended dietary intake (RDI). The consumption of other vegetables, green leafy vegetables and animal source foods particularly milk consumption improved, to the borderline of RDI. In Koraput, apart from cereals, consumption of fruits, leafy vegetables, other vegetables, roots and tubers met the RDI after FSN interventions.

Overall, it may be surmised that the acceptance of the nutrition sensitive agriculture interventions and nutrition awareness had led to the improvement of household diet quality and dietary diversity. This over a longer period will have impact on the nutritional status of the household members.

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