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Strengthening the connection between agriculture and nutrition – What is CTA doing?

October 1, 2015

From 21-25 September, in Dakar, Senegal, CTA held a workshop aimed at sharing evidence to strengthen the agriculture–nutrition nexus in the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Experts from research and academia from ACP and EU countries shared data from recent studies and discussed how the results can be used to inform policies and programmes on food and nutrition security (FNS). The 5-day event had been convened by CTA, in collaboration with the New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD), the Partnership for Aflatoxin Control in Africa (PACA) and the West and Central African Council for Agricultural Research and Development (WECARD).

Improving food and nutrition security in ACP

There is a pressing need to improve the FNS situation across ACP countries. Governments need evidence to guide their decisions on public investment, support their efforts to attract private sector investment, and ensure that research and advisory services benefit smallholder farmers, especially women and youth as well as small and medium-sized agro-enterprises.

CTA is committed to working with other organisations to generate and validate such evidence. For instance, CTA has been supporting ACP universities to get more involved in FNS policy processes and programmes. Strengthening the links between agriculture and nutrition is a key intervention area, and the Dakar workshop was a valuable networking opportunity to achieve this end. 

Key workshop partners

Specialists from key strategic partner organisations were represented at the Dakar workshop, including:

NEPAD Agency – is committed to working with African governments and institutions to achieve the 2014 Malabo targets to end hunger and reduce stunting by 10% by 2025.
PACA – aims to control levels of aflatoxin contamination in Africa and reduce risks to human health and trade
CORAF/WECARD – has adopted food, nutrition and health as one of its cross-cutting themes for its 2014-2018 operational programme in West and Central Africa
RUFORUM – has committed the regional university network to support the African Union's 2063 vision for a well-nourished population.

Cross-learning 

During the early stages of the workshop, participants reviewed the results generated from the studies across the ACP region, all commissioned by CTA, namely:

• Case studies on FNS in selected ACP countries (Benin, Burkina Faso, Fiji, Kenya, Niger, Senegal, Tanzania, Trinidad and Tobago), and on the agriculture–nutrition nexus in Cameroon, Mali and Togo.
• An Africa-wide systematic review of existing literature on aflatoxin contamination of major food commodities, conducted by the University of Nairobi.

Using evidence to inform policy and programmes 

After considering the new evidence, participants discussed how this data can be used to strengthen policies and programmes on FNS and agriculture–nutrition in the ACP region. For instance, NEPAD’s Framework for African Food Security, which is linked to the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Development Programme (CAADP), is due for updating soon: the implications of the data for the new version and the role of universities in supporting the process were discussed. The new evidence will also inform the work of PACA and CORAF/WECARD. In addition, CTA’s programme, planned activities and partnership approach for strengthening systems to optimise agriculture and nutrition outcomes (SSOANO) were presented.  

Writing together  

During its final sessions the workshop became a 'write-shop', enabling those concerned to work together on:

• A CTA-commissioned book on FNS in selected ACP countries, focusing in particular on the role of universities in supporting countries to address this challenge through their teaching, research and outreach.
• The key elements and timeline for updating NEPAD's Framework for African Food Security to include nutrition.

See the writeshop's photos

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