Towards the integration of nutrition and gender in the agriculture system of Ethiopia

The Agriculture sector in Ethiopia is still practiced in a traditional way and has become incapable to provide food and nutrition security for the majority of the population. As a result, malnutrition has remained to be one of the leading health challenges in Ethiopia being responsible for 53% of infant and child deaths. With the objective of identifying policy gaps in implementing nutrition sensitive agriculture at local, regional and national level in Ethiopia and situating best pathways of addressing identified issues, data was collected at Yayu and Hurumu districts, and Illu Ababora zone of South-West Ethiopia. Then, a follow-up policy advocacy workshop was undertaken at national level. The findings show that the current agricultural policies are hardly nutrition sensitive. In addition, the existing coordination among different sectors (particularly agriculture and health sectors) in mainstreaming nutrition is weak. The findings also indicated that the current agricultural extension systems is focusing on the production of staples and cash crops such as coffee. As a result, horticultural crops production, marketing and consumption still remains neglected. The findings highlight the need for inculcating nutrition in agriculture, education and health sectors, and the need for strong integration between these sectors in mainstreaming nutrition. Home economics position needs to be also re-structured at local, regional and national level with a clear mission and budget.