Agri-food Systems and Nutrition

A healthy and nutritionally well-fed population is indispensable for economic growth and development. Health and nutritional status affect the capacity to learn, which in turn determines productivity and economic growth.  Evidence indicates that adult productivity depends to a considerable extent on the contribution health and nutrition during early childhood make to educational attainment. Studies also show that a healthy adult with a nutritionally adequate diet has a higher level of economic productivity in both own-farm production and the labor market than one who eats and keeps less well.  Despite this, one of Africa’s greatest challenges is to secure sufficient and healthy food for all, and to do so in an environmentally sustainable manner. There are also weak interrelationships of food, health, and environment, and their role in addressing chronic micronutrient deficiencies, also known as ―hidden hunger, affecting over two billion people worldwide. While the complexity and underlying determinants of under nutrition have been well-understood for decades, the scaling of food and nutrition system approaches that combine sustainable agriculture aimed at improved diet diversity and livelihoods have been limited in their development and implementation. However, an integrated system approach to reduce hidden hunger could potentially serve as a sustainable opportunity. There is need therefore to align curriculum and/ or design and implement postgraduate training program that will produce graduates with skills in food and nutritional systems. African universities have a big role to play in this undertaking