Follow-up activity summary: post-conference momentum continues to grow

The IFPRI 2020 Conference in New Delhi continues to build energy and raise awareness about the important linkages between agriculture, nutrition, and health! Here is a quick summary (PDF version) of some of the exciting activities that happened since the conference:

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Policy Action Note From the Malawi Conference Is Now Available!

Malawi Conference Participants

One month after the "Unleashing Agriculture's Potential for Improved Health and Nutrition in Malawi" conference, event organizers have released the Policy Action Note, which is the outcome of presentations and discussions on making linkages across sectors, building capacity, and investing in evidence-based and responsive research. The note aims to inform and motivate policymakers and planners across sectors to coordinate and integrate their activities to help Malawi’s agriculture become more responsive and contribute to the nutritional and health status of the population.

Journal publishes review of IFPRI seminar on non-communicable diseases

The December 2011 issue of Public Health Nutrition featured a review of the recent policy seminar on agriculture and non-communicable diseases. Written by two IFPRI colleagues Zhenya Karelina and Heidi Fritschel, the article concluded that "agriculture can be a powerful tool in the fight against non-communicable diseases, but using this tool effectively will require significant changes in the organization of the entire food system, from the farm to the table."

Joint event highlights recent work on agriculture and health nexus

The Chicago Council on Foreign Affairs and IFPRI co-sponsored the event Connecting the Dots: How Agriculture Can Contribute to Global Health on October 12 in conjunction with the World Food Prize Symposium in Des Moines, Iowa.

Panelists discussed recent work exploring the intersection of agriculture and health. Robert Paarlberg, professor of political science at Wellesley College, highlighted findings from The Chicago Council’s new report on how agriculture and food policy can help prevent chronic disease as well as from his IFPRI 2020 paper on governance and the dietary transition. Rajul Pandya-Lorch, Head of the 2020 Vision Initiative at IFPRI, discussed key outcomes that emerged from the 2020 Conference in New Delhi. Pamela Anderson, director general of the International Potato Center (CIP), concluded with a presentation on CIP’s Sweet Potato for Profit and Health Initiative and its impact on food security. All of the presentations reiterated the need for further exploration on how agriculture and health are connected.

Malawi conference marks successful step towards translating global findings to the country level

Malawian Minister of Agriculture Peter Mwanza addresses conference participants

During the Unleashing Agriculture's Potential for Improved Nutrition and Health in Malawi conference held earlier this week in Lilongwe, Malawi, policymakers, researchers, and other stakeholders engaged in energetic and vigorous discussion and mutual learning about how to make agricultural policies and programs more nutrition-and health-friendly in Malawi.

The inaugural session set the stage and featured several key government officials. Malawi's Minister of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development Peter Mwanza officially launched the conference and emphasized the need to rejuvenate existing links between the three sectors. He was introduced by Erica Maganga, the Secretary for Agriculture and Food Security at Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development.

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Nourishing the Planet blog discusses NCD policy seminar

Worldwatch Institute's Nourishing the Planet blog posted a review of last week's policy seminar on agriculture and non-communicable diseases. Check out the post to read what they had to say.

Policy seminar examines role of agriculture for UN meeting on noncommunicable diseases

Last Thursday, IFPRI hosted a policy seminar on “Leveraging Agriculture to Tackle Noncommunicable Diseases” that explored how to take advantage of the connections between agriculture and noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and how food and agriculture research can become part of the dialogue at the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly, to be held on September 19-20.

Chaired by Marie Ruel of IFPRI, the seminar featured a panel of multi-sectoral speakers. Professor Tim Lang, City University London, discussed major drivers and emerging trends with regard to the linkages between agriculture and these diseases. Rachel Nugent, Center for Global Development, talked about the recent rise of NCDs in international development and policy dialogue. She notably mentioned the 2020 Conference in Delhi as key example of this change. Derek Yach, PepsiCo, concluded with a discussion about the important role of the private sector in improving food and nutrition security.

Visit the IFPRI page to view speakers' presentations and PowerPoints.

Malawi conference will devise country level strategies to strengthen linkages

On September 26-27, 2011, IFPRI’s Malawi office and its 2020 Vision Initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security and supported by USAID and Irish Aid’s offices in Malawi, will hold a conference in Lilongwe, Malawi, that will bring together key players on agriculture, nutrition and health.

MUAC Measurements at Malawian Growth Monitoring Clinic

The event Unleashing Agriculture’s Potential For Nutrition & Health in Malawi will draw from the key global recommendations from the 2020 International Conference in Delhi and examine how these can be applied to the country specific level. Malawi’s experiences tackling agriculture, health, and nutrition issues provide a starting point to guide and inform how to create more synergies between the three sectors.

Independent review looks at short term impacts of 2020 conference

The interim report of the 2020 conference, undertaken by Robert Paarlberg, is now available! The report examines the short-term impacts of event on the conferees themselves as well as on the visibility of agriculture/nutrition/health issues in the media and in popular and professional discourse. Many conference participants contributed their opinions through online questionnaires and interviews, for which we are very grateful. The review also explores potential long-term effects, driven by post-conference activities of conference participants and use of materials generated by the conference.

This report is part of an externally managed and conducted impact assessment prepared for IFPRI. Look out for the final report to be released in November 2012!

Brussels event explores potential of biofortification to reduce malnutrition

This past June, HarvestPlus and the UK Department for International Development (DFID) co-hosted a meeting in Brussels to discuss the potential of agricultural-based approaches, such as biofortification, to reduce malnutrition.

The event featured a wide range of presenters from research and policy fields. To follow-up on IFPRI’s 2020 Conference, the first panel discussed how biofortification can fit into initiatives to leverage agriculture for improved nutrition and health. New research results and developments were also presented. The event concluded with a brainstorming session to identify next steps for moving biofortification and HarvestPlus forward.

For the full-length blog article, agenda, and participant bios, visit the HarvestPlus website.

Video from all conference sessions now available from the program pages