The project LANSA results in multiple level uptake
(In the pic: Recipe demonstration in Wardha)
MSSRF focused the Farming System for Nutrition (FSN) intervention under the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia(LANSA) with policy-makers and communities in India. Continuous strategic engagement with stakeholders at national, sub-national, district and village governance levels have resulted in uptake of FSN evidence at multiple levels.Targeted communication and dissemination of LANSA research findings has undeniably contributed to the shift in the agriculture policy agenda to include nutrition.
The concept of ‘nutrition-sensitive agriculture’ was formally adopted by policymakers in Odisha. The Finance Minister’s speech at the State Legislative Assembly included the phrase “nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions” in the context of detailing planned expenditure in the Agriculture Budget for 2018-19. This is clear evidence that Odisha State government is committed to nutrition-sensitive agriculture as a pathway of tackling undernutrition. The budget was presented three days after a MSSRF-LANSA March 2018 meeting to share findings from the FSN study with government officers, chaired by the Development Commissioner and Additional Chief Secretary (DC&ACS), Planning & Convergence Department. Theminutes of the meeting include a commitment to initiate nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions with the 2018 agriculture budget.
Another example of LANSA’s instrumental impact is in Maharashtra where the Agriculture Technology Application Research Institute of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR-ATARI), Pune, has agreed to model the FSN approach in ten KVKs in two states – Maharashtra and Gujarat, by using demonstration plots for farmer-outreach. At the MSSRF National consultation on Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in July 2018, the ICAR-ATARI Director reiterated that FSN demonstration plots in KVKs as priority.
LANSA investments in capacity strengthening on nutrition-sensitive agriculture interventions and raising nutrition awareness of farm men and women from (FSN) study villages have empowered community members – they are now spokespersons on how to leverage agriculture for better nutrition. In various forums, these farmer ‘champions’ have voiced tangible benefits gained from FSN approach, laying emphasis on broader awareness of diets and health coming from the food they grow. This resulted in the replication and uptake of FSN interventions, expanding from 12 study villages to 34 new villages in Wardha (Maharashtra) and Koraput (Odisha) districts.
From a network-building perspective, LANSA has leveraged MSSRF’s reputation in the field of agriculture research in India to build relationships that cement agriculture-nutrition linkages at all levels of governance. With evidence-based messaging and knowledge products, LANSA was able to broaden networks to influence policy, academic and practice discourse on agriculture for nutrition across India. In January 2018, the high-level multi-sectoral round-table on ‘Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition’ jointly with India’s central planning body – NITI Aayog, Delhi, resulted in the adoption of a series of action points for promoting agriculture-nutrition linkage as recorded in the approved minutes. FSN advocacy and influence continues beyond LANSA currently endorsed by Tata Trusts with commitment to reach more states in undernourished India.
The project is implemented by the LANSA team under the Agriculture, Food and Nutrition programme area.
M S Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF) established in 1988 is a not-for-profit trust. MSSRF was envisioned and founded by Professor M S Swaminathan, agriculture scientist with proceeds from the First World Food Prize that he received in 1987.