This working paper identifies agricultural activities and value chains in Ghana whose expansion is most effective at generating economic growth, reducing national and rural poverty, creating jobs, and improving nutrition by diversifying diets. The Rural Investment and Policy Analysis (RIAPA) model of the Ghanaian economy is used to estimate how increasing production in different agricultural sectors leads to changes in national and household outcomes.1 RIAPA captures linkages between sectors and rural-urban economies, as well as changes throughout the agriculture-food system (AFS).
Value chains and agricultural commercialization are increasingly promoted as mechanisms for agricultural transformation, inclusive growth, and, more recently, improved food security and diets. In particular, donors and implementers of nutrition and food security programs are promoting the production of nutritious crops as a mechanism for improving the quality of and diversity in the diets of the rural poor.
In this paper, we apply a mixed-method multisectoral diagnostic to examine potential interventions in food systems to improve diets of rural smallholder farmers in Malawi. We examine the entry points for interventions involving public and nonprofit (including both government and development partners) and private-sector perspectives. In addition, we explore the methodological and theoretical requirements for undertaking this type of multisectoral analysis.
Despite global goals to decrease malnutrition, there remain many challenges in providing access to a nutritious diet for all. Food value chains for nutrition have been the focus of a number of reviews but evidence of their impacts remains limited. Using a systems perspective to look at markets and the role of the private sector in nutrition includes not only the complex relations between multiple actors and trade-offs between often competing objectives, but also the supporting environment in terms of infrastructure (e.g. roads, energy) and the guiding laws and social norms.
This volume has highlighted the important links between agriculture and nutrition, both direct and indirect, both theoretical and practical. It has explored these relationships through various frameworks, such as value chains, programs and policies, as well as through diverse perspectives, such as gender.
It is predicted that rising temperatures and changes in precipitation patterns will substantially impact food systems. Nutritious crops often require water-intensive growing techniques; hence production decisions and yields could be substantially affected by a changing climate. Value chain interventions can help overcome constraints in terms of inputs, storage and transportation that limit access to nutritious foods which may become more pronounced in the face of climate change.
Risk and poverty are inextricably linked. Susceptibility to risk is a defining feature of what it means to be poor. Poor people often live in environments characterized by high weather and disease risk, and it is poor households that have the fewest tools to deal with drought, floods, and disease when they occur. Breaking the link between risk and poverty by insuring poor people both lessens the affliction of poverty and allows poor people to participate in income and growth.
In the past, discussions about food security have typically focused on thequantity of food that people eat rather than the quality. However, micronutrient deficiencies are becoming increasingly recognized as a serious threat to the health and economic development of low-income populations. As a result, nutrition is garnering more and more attention in the development community.