The nutrition sensitivity of food and agriculture in South Asia

Through a review of the literature, this paper examines the links of food and agriculture with nutrition in South Asia, a region characterized by a high level of malnutrition. The review finds that the level and stability of food prices play a critical part in food consumption, with rising prices affecting poor households the most. Although public food transfer programs are aimed at addressing this, most are too small to have a marked effect in protecting or promoting nutrition. Several supply-side food and agricultural interventions suggest promise in improving nutrition, although their effects have yet to be well identified. These include the cultivation of home gardens, animal farming, and use of biofortification and post-harvest fortification. All these efforts will be futile, however, without parallel efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

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