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Nutrition

Poverty reduction through nutritious foods

Worldwide, approximately three billion people have poor-quality diets and more than two billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies. Nearly 25 per cent of children under the age of five are chronically undernourished.

Malnutrition causes health problems and losses in economic productivity, including GDP losses. Over the course of their lifetimes, malnourished individuals can earn 10 per cent less than those who are well-nourished.

Without access to adequate, affordable, nutritious food, generations remain trapped in poverty, unable to take advantage of educational and job opportunities to fulfil their potential.

Investing in nutrition through agriculture is not only socially responsible, it is sound development policy and good economics. Its impact is multi-generational, allowing children to reach their full physical and intellectual potential, so that they can grow into healthy adults and lift themselves out of poverty.

At the forefront of nutrition-sensitive agriculture

Improving food security through better food production systems is at the heart of IFAD’s work. We design our projects through a nutrition- and gender-sensitive lens, helping rural people to improve their diets by growing and consuming diverse, nutritious, safe and affordable foods.

To combat malnutrition, we combine our solid technical knowledge with investments in nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture, through unique food-based approaches. We finance nutritional education and support actions that reshape food systems and improve nutrition security.

We also pay special attention to the role of women and adolescent girls, who make up a large percentage of the workforce in agriculture and food systems in developing countries. They are also the safeguards of nutritious diets in their households.

Empowering women by improving their knowledge of nutrition, as well as promoting maternal nutrition and nutrition of adolescent girls, dietary intake, and hygiene behaviours, can reduce undernutrition for entire generations.

Gender-sensitive agricultural projects help ensure women have more control over resources and that both rural men and women understand the important role that they can play in supporting good nutrition.

Climate change exacerbates the already vast burden of malnutrition and undermines current efforts to reduce hunger and promote nutrition.

As a result, IFAD has increased its commitment to providing resources for issues related to nutrition and is mainstreaming nutrition, gender and climate change actions across all of its programmes and projects.

We promote dialogue among concerned partners, including ministries of agriculture and health, as well as between other areas of government and civil society. This strengthens understanding, brokers collaboration, and promotes new pathways for nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture.

IFAD also taps into other reservoirs of knowledge and collaborates with institutions with specialized research skills such as national agricultural research centres and international institutes.

Worldwide knowledge-sharing and collaboration

Governments and development partners around the world are increasingly focused on nutrition-enhancing agricultural investments.

More than 50 countries have now committed to the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) movement, a clear demonstration that nutrition is high on the global agenda.

IFAD plays an active role in the United Nations Standing Committee on Nutrition (UNSCN), a platform dedicated to an open, substantive and constructive dialogue on global nutrition strategies and initiatives. The UNSCN is currently chaired by IFAD's Vice-President, Cornelia Richter.

Food and nutrition security is both an indicator and a driver of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development. It is also an investment in the future.

For this reason, the scope of global malnutrition demands a robust and collaborative approach, driven by the local realities of smallholders and rural food systems.

Spotlight

Spotlight

Re-imagining food systems through the climate–nutrition nexus

The food we eat plays a role in not just our health, but that of our descendants. How we grow, hunt, fish or gather it, how we process it and bring it to market, affects the world around us. These simple relationships are the foundation of the climate–nutrition nexus.

Tags: NUTRITION, CLIMATE AND ENVIRONMENT

Projects

Projects

Benin

The Market Gardening Development Support Project

Niger

Food Security and Development Support Project in the Maradi Region

Lao People's Democratic Republic

Southern Laos Food and Nutrition Security and Market Linkages Programme

Asset Publisher

Related news

Related news

UN report: Pandemic year marked by spike in world hunger

July 2021 - NEWS
There was a dramatic worsening of world hunger in 2020, the United Nations said today – much of it likely related to the fallout of COVID-19. While the pandemic’s impact has yet to be fully mapped, a multi-agency report estimates that around a tenth of the global population – up to 811 million people – were undernourished last year.

IFAD and KSrelief agree to jointly tackle hunger and malnutrition in world’s most vulnerable countries

July 2021 - NEWS
IFAD and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and ‎Relief Centre (KSrelief) today agreed to join forces to help ensure sustainable access to nutritious food.

South Sudan and IFAD to boost productivity, food security and resilience of small-scale farmers faced with climate change

June 2021 - NEWS
The South Sudan Livelihoods Resilience Project (SSLRP) will empower rural people to boost productivity, food security and nutrition, and resilience.

Related publications

Related publications

How to do note: Mainstreaming NUS in national policy for nutrition outcomes

March 2021
This How to Do Note is part of a series of five Notes that accompany the NUS Operational Framework.

How to do note: Interventions in support of NUS export markets

March 2021
This How to Do Note is part of a series of five Notes that accompany the NUS Operational Framework.

How to do note: Promote neglected and underutilized species for domestic markets

March 2021
This How to Do Note is part of a series of five Notes that accompany the NUS Operational Framework.

Related documents

Related documents

IFAD Action Plan Nutrition 2019-2025

August 2019 - CORPORATE
strategy   policies_and_strategies  
This Nutrition Action Plan (NAP) 2019 2025 sets out the framework to guide IFAD’s actions to accelerate mainstreaming of nutrition into its investments.

Videos

Videos

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Bangladesh: Small fish, big gains
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