Page 5 of 7
The integration of a nutrition-sensitive approach in agricultural value chains entails the following costs:
- investment in expertise to develop advisory messages related to nutrition education, business skills, and production techniques
- equipping extension agents with quality training materials (posters, guidelines, visual aids) to optimise learning by the target population
- management support to encourage supervision and coaching
- resources to ensure manpower, transportation, and allowances for extension agents
- seed funds for demonstration plots or for demonstrating improved technologies for off-farm activities.
- Strengths and weaknesses The major strengths and weaknesses of integrating nutrition-sensitive advisory services in extension are shown in Table 1.
Strengths and weaknesses
The major strengths and weaknesses of integrating nutrition-sensitive advisory services in extension are shown in Table 1.
Table 1: Strengths and weaknesses
- Crop diversification through rotation, intercropping, and off-season production is a recognised strategy to preserve soil fertility and reduce pest incidence in cash-crop production. It does not conflict with the mandate of EAS.
- Nutrition-sensitive extension messages are available and can be adopted and adapted to context with relatively low investments.
- The approach responds to a systemic weakness of agricultural extension services through building the capacity of extension agents to integrate business and nutritional skills in their services
- The approach does not address causes of malnutrition beyond the household level (e.g. high incidence of illness; lack of infrastructure to access clean water) nor does it inherently focus on better nutrition during the important first 1,000 days of a child’s life.
- EAS services are highly relevant for emerging farmers and smallholders with the potential to produce at commercial level. These services are not sufficient to address the needs of resource-poor (e.g. landless) households or subsistence producers, who are often the most affected by food insecurity
Table 2: Opportunities and challenges
|Type of EAS
- Large presence in rural areas
- Existing relations to smallholders and broad outreach
- Often a mandate to improve nutrition and women’s empowerment
- Resource constraints
- Management inefficiencies
- More resources available
- Access to information, communication, and other technologies
- Companies need to be convinced of return on investment
- Intervention limited to outgrowers and focused on specific crops
- Didactic experience and knowledge may be lacking