Integrating nutrition outcomes into agriculture development for impact at scale: Highlights from the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund

Annie S. Wesley, Renaud De Plaen, Kristina D. Michaux, Kyly C. Whitfield, Tim Green

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


The Canadian International Food Security Research Fund programme supported research and scaling up of nutrition- and gender-sensitive agriculture innovations from 2009 to 2018. Women and girls were identified as agents of change and were targeted as the main programme beneficiaries. Projects were implemented in 25 countries through multistakeholder partnerships among universities, research institutions, public and private sectors, and civil society groups, reaching over 78 million people, mainly women and children. Approaches specific to nutrition included growing more nutritious crops, improving dietary diversity, value added processing, food fortification, and nutrition education. Scale-up for impact was achieved through a number of pathways that started with evidence through rigorous research, followed by a combination of elements such as understanding local and regional contexts to identify specific bottlenecks and opportunities for the deployment and adoption of successful innovations, selecting politically effective or influential partners to lead the scaling up process, and investing in long-term local capacity and leadership building. Overall, the knowledge generated in the programme indicate that well-designed nutrition-sensitive agriculture and food-based interventions can have meaningful impacts on pathways that will lead to better health and well-being of women and children through improving household and individual access to nutrient-rich foods. Longer intervention times are needed to demonstrate changes in health indicators such as reduced stunting. This overview paper summarises the programme and showcases examples from studies that demonstrate the impact pathway for nutrition interventions that encompass efficacy and effectiveness studies, value-added processing, cost effectiveness of interventions, and bringing a proven intervention to scale.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere12812
JournalMaternal and Child Nutrition
Issue numberS3
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • children
  • food and nutrition security
  • nutrition education
  • nutrition-sensitive agriculture
  • scaling up
  • women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Obstetrics and Gynaecology
  • Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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