The main food security challenge for Rwanda’s smallholder farming families is how best to combine their limited resources of farmland and family labour in such a way as to avoid hunger. The main food security challenge for government is how to deliver meaningful services to at risk farming families so that the agricultural economy grows and farm livelihoods improve while also addressing serious diet-related health problems of farming families and the nation as a whole. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture (NSA) is a win-win approach for growing both agricultural wealth and health. How can governments address issues of availability, access, utilization and resilience at the same time and in a mutually supportive manner? How can they further enable the private sector with risk reduction measures aimed at supporting them to improve the agricultural productivity while simultaneously improving food safety and quality (e.g. fortification, reduction of post-harvest loss, etc.)?
2 Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture and Food Security
Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture (NSA) is defined as “food-based approach to agricultural development that puts nutritionally rich foods, dietary diversity, and food fortification at the heart of overcoming malnutrition and micronutrient deficiencies.” Nutrition is essentially about food consumption and, as agriculture concerns food crop production, there is an obvious link between agriculture and health when it comes to nutrition. NSA thus describes an approach by which potential investments into agriculture are viewed through a nutrition lens. In practical terms, if an investment is undertaken for a specific crop or livestock supply chain, then what is a potential impact (positive and negative) on the nutritional quality and value of that commodity throughout the entire cycle including production and post-production? Does the investment avoid nutrient loss along the supply chain and result in optimizing vitamins, minerals, starch, dietary fibre, or protein quality? (See Annex 5 for an example of an NSA approach for beans)
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