March 2, 2024, 3:35 pm

Staff Correspondent

2022-06-25 09:19:52 BdST

Nutrition interventions sought for boosting overall economy

Nutrition interventions play a crucial role in empowering women, ensuring dietary diversity, building a climate-resilient food system, and boosting the overall economy, said experts at a seminar in the city.

Jointly organised by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health on Thursday, the seminar aimed to provide a platform to share lessons on nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food systems, identify good practices and potential areas of collaboration with different government agencies, development partners, and private sectors.

Bringing together experiences from IFAD and BRAC University speakers shared learnings on using gastronomy as a development tool and empowering women to achieve sustainable nutrition impacts that contribute to overall food systems, reports a media release on Friday.

"When we consider a food system to be healthy, we tend to investigate and invest in maximising profit and quantifiable indicators. Instead, we have to start considering an integrated system where you include diversity, health, and social factors. The same applies to nutrition interventions which can be used as a tool to transform agriculture and our food systems," said Arnoud Hameleers, IFAD Country Director for Bangladesh.

Drawing further on how IFAD's investment and work in nutrition across nations, Joyce Njoro, IFAD Technical Specialist, Nutrition and Social Inclusion said, "Nutrition and food security are at the heart of IFAD's work through its nutrition-sensitive projects, which address underlying causes of malnutrition related to inadequate household food security, maternal and childcare, and environmental health."

"IFAD works in food - horticultural, crops, livestock, fish, wild foods, bio-fortified crops - production along with food processing, preserving, storing, and marketing, supporting nutrition education at the community level, mainstreaming gender equality and empowerment, and policy engagement," added Njoro while underscoring the importance multi-sectoral coordination to implement nutrition-sensitive projects.

Underscoring the importance of the human and social factors, Barnali Chakraborty, Associate Scientist, BRAC James P Grant School of Public Health said, "Development intervention alone cannot change the nutrition status in the country. It is crucial to improve individual capabilities to bring impact at the community and national level by integrating health, agriculture, women empowerment, and other social factors in the development interventions. Communities' capabilities need to be enhanced to achieve children's nutrition."

Participants representing different government agencies, national implementors, and development partners utilised this seminar as a platform to explore new ways of strengthening the impact of nutrition-sensitive development interventions and leverage nutrition as a development tool to transform rural Bangladesh.

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