News & stories

Recipe for success: Agriculture and market-oriented projects are more successful when they address nutrition

PROMAC integrates nutrition messaging and cooking demonstrations into its work.

As a development nutritionist, my wish for the New Year is for every agriculture and market-oriented project to be nutrition-sensitive. Already fulfilling that wish is NCBA CLUSA’s Promotion of Conservation Agriculture (PROMAC) project in Mozambique. Funded by the Royal Norwegian Embassy, PROMAC is implemented in seven districts within the provinces of Manic and Zambezia. At face value, PROMAC’s objectives to encourage the adoption of climate smart agriculture (CSA) practices, increase yields, incomes, land tenure rights and literacy rates—all while being inclusive of women and youth—does not scream “nutrition.” But during a recent visit to the project, I uncovered the nutrition-sensitivity at the heart of PROMAC activities since the project began in 2012.

The nutrition-sensitive agriculture approach recognizes that for good nutrition to happen, interventions must address the underlying determinants for positive nutrition and health outcomes. To create this enabling environment, practitioners use the agriculture-to-nutrition pathways as a guide for entry points along value chains to influence nutrition outcomes. The three main pathways are food production, income and women’s empowerment, with the latter also cross-cutting to the first two.

PROMAC is introducing labor saving technologies such as rippers and other CSA practices that preserve the environmental integrity of the soil and improve yields. By aerating the soil and making it easier to cultivate, rippers decrease the time and labor burdens associated with farming—especially for women.