Research skills for nutrition-sensitive food systems to reduce hunger, malnutrition and health inequalities in sub-Saharan Africa

Background and Project Rationale

Agriculture and food systems throughout the world have evolved to become more complex and globalized. One in three people in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are malnourished, and the food system is not providing them with affordable, nutritious food. Nutrition-sensitive agricultural systems emphasise the need to diversify and increase innovation in food production to increase nutritional value of foods, enabling diets that satisfy the nutritional needs of the population.


The training consists of three complementary activities (research visit, e-course and skills school) that equip African scientists with the skills to critically evaluate, design, implement and evaluate nutrition-sensitive interventions in Africa. The training emphasises the importance of nutrition in all aspects of the food system, focusing on SSA-specific issues.

Concepts and methodologies include agrarian and biotechnological methods that harness genetic diversity of nutrient-dense native or adapted species of crops and livestock, technological innovations in food processing, consumer practices and behaviour that encourage healthy diets, dietary assessment and monitoring. The training highlights the benefits of a nutrition-sensitive food system to environmental sustainability (diversity and climate resilience), social-inclusivity (healthy communities, women empowerment) and economic development (livelihoods, value addition through the food supply chain, and opportunities for new markets, income and skilled work), taking into consideration cultural and political contexts at regional and national levels.

The training aligns with the priorities of the UN Decade Action on Nutrition 2016-2026 to undertake ten years of sustained and coherent implementation of policies and programmes that increase visibility of nutrition action at the highest level and ensure coordination, strengthen multi-sectoral collaboration, create synergies and measure progress towards sustainable food systems that deliver food and nutrition security for all.


This project contributes towards Africa’s goal to reduce hunger and achieve food and nutrition security through training in research skills required to implement nutrition-sensitive approaches along the agricultural value chain. Increased capacity in nutrition will accelerate adoption of nutrition-specific objectives into agricultural, food & nutrition and public health policies.

Publications and outputs

Output: Open access online course on A Nutritional Approach to Agriculture and Food Security: