Experts Call For Nutrition-Led Agricultural Transformation Agenda For Africa

Uploaded by on September 7, 2019


With Africa’s population set to reach two billion by 2050, it’s critical that nutrition is placed at the heart of interventions, policies, and strategies to drive agricultural transformation.

A Director at the Global Panel on Agriculture and Food Systems for Nutrition, Professor Sandy Thomas, made the point at the just concluded African Green Revolution conference in Ghana.

Prof. Thomas said that in addition to enhancing dietary health and wellbeing, the integration of nutrition into Africa’s green revolution presents opportunities to boost yields, increase value-adding activities, and generate jobs, adding that the importance of nutrition cannot be overstated.

According to Professor Thomas, adults who are well nourished as children earn more than 20% more income than those who are not able to access healthy diets. 

She said that given that Africa has the youngest and fastest-growing population in the world, with the number of young people set to double to 350 million by 2050, the issue of nutrition has a major bearing on the continent’s future.

As Professor Sandy Thomas remarked, Africa’s youth, whether under five or adolescents, won’t be able to achieve their potential if they’re not able to access healthy diets.

Prof. Thomas noted that some African countries, such as Ghana, have made strides to address the issue of nutrition by leveraging economic growth and agricultural development to reduce poverty and achieve food and nutrition security. 

She said that agricultural transformation could help to achieve these goals by boosting farm income through increased demand for agricultural products.

Prof. Thomas pointed out that driving a nutrition-led agricultural transformation could also positively impact off-farm income by creating employment along the value chain and improving market access. This in turn enables rural consumers to overcome seasonal food shortages and diversify their diets. 

She observed that the linkages between agricultural transformation and nutrition at household level are not well understood, while saying that agricultural commercialization and farm production specialization, especially into non-food cash crops, could lead to reduced diet diversity if home-grown food is not supplemented with market purchases.

She said that in many cases, lack of diversity creates micronutrient deficiencies adding that to achieve nutrition-led agricultural transformation, governments need to ensure their programs deliver across a broad range of needs and align the activities and investments of different actors

The African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) is a platform for global and African leaders to develop actionable plans that will move African agriculture forward.


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