Farming is the primary source of livelihood for the majority of the population in India and South Asia. The region is also home to a large population of undernourished people. This indicates the potential for leveraging agriculture to impact on nutrition outcomes. A study underway in two regions of India, viz. Wardha district of Maharashtra and Koraput district of Odisha is seeking to demonstrate feasibility of a Farming System approach to address the problem of undernutrition. The core research question underlying the study is: How strong is the evidence that agricultural interventions can be pro-nutrition? The Farming System for Nutrition (FSN) design mainstreams nutritional criteria in the selection of components of the farming system based on the local resource base, integrating nutritious crops, trees, poultry, livestock, fisheries and agro-forestry, to address the nutrition needs of rural families. A starting point is nutrition status assessment of the community; nutrition awareness is an essential component of the approach.
The presentation will share essential aspects of the study in progress at the two locations since mid-2013 and discuss the challenges and learnings.