Nutrition is increasingly being identified as a key challenge within sourcing communities and an area where companies and their implementing are focusing more time and resources to investigate the nutritional situation on the ground and provide services to improve nutritional diversity and food security.  This work has been described as a “no regret” intervention.  However, many companies that are just entering this space wonder how to best assess nutrition in their sourcing communities, design effective interventions that build on their existing work and measure impact.  Several companies and NGOs that are focusing on nutrition shared their approaches, challenges and insights for good practice in addressing the issue.

  • Nestlé has gathered baselines in 11 of their sourcing communities and shared how those were collected and used to identify strategic priorities for investment. They also introduced a more detailed approach to looking at the quality and diversity of diet, which led to more targeted interventions.
  • Solidaridad and CMS provided insights into how they worked with the Nestlé baselines to implement a large-scale nutrition project for Kenyan and Ethiopian coffee growers, building on their existing livelihood and agriculture programs.
  • Unilever and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) explained their Seeds of Prosperity program, a 9-week behavior change program aiming to improve the dietary diversity and handwashing behavior (a successful pilot in Tamil Nadu led to the current activity of scaling the project to 70,000 farmers), now being rolled out to other tea sourcing locations.
  • Swiss Contact outlined their approach to improving dietary diversity for 40,000 cocoa farmers in Indonesia and shared findings from a recent impact study, which gave valuable insights into what worked and why in that context.
  • IDH and Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition (GAIN) shared their approach to assessing and improving nutritional diversity in cocoa growing communities in Ghana and the Ivory Coast, the first step in a country-wide, industry level collaboration on the issue.

Following the workshop, IDH and GAIN partnered to write a blog post (“How we reduce malnutrition in agricultural value chains”) illustrating why nutrition is important and how companies are beginning to think about assessing and addressing nutrition in their own value chains.

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