The consortium, Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) has secured funding to implement its ambitious new research programme. The research will examine and make recommendations on how agriculture and food-related interventions can be better designed to improve nutrition, with particular focus on children and adolescent girls. The six year (2013 - 2018) research programme has been made possible by a grant from the UK government. Led by the MS Swaminathan Research Foundation in India, partners include: BRAC (Bangladesh), Collective for Social Science Research (Pakistan), Institute of Development Studies (UK), International Food Policy Research Institute (USA) and the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (UK).
Despite rapid economic growth in South Asia, rates of child undernutrition remain the highest in the world. Nearly half of South Asian children are stunted or underweight, and progress on reducing rates of undernutrition is extremely slow. While agriculture is the primary source of livelihood for half the population in the region, the potential for using agriculture to reduce undernutrition has not been fully realised.
"The aim of LANSA is to tackle undernutrition in South Asia through an innovative evidence-based and gender-sensitive marriage of nutrition and agriculture" explains Professor M S Swaminathan, Chair of LANSA's Consortium Advisory Group, and renowned for his leading role in India's Green Revolution. "Through its research, LANSA will explore current policies and actions in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan for making the sustainable intensification of agriculture more nutrition-sensitive and propose new initiatives to link agriculture and nutrition in the region".
The consortium will work closely with key decision makers in the region to ensure the research meets their needs, and therefore influences their thinking and actions.
Given the trans-border nature of many of the food and nutrition related issues in South Asia, regional collaboration is essential. LANSA will promote cooperation among South Asian countries India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan.
"Working together we will build stronger evidence to inform future policies and programmes in the region," explains CEO Prakash Shetty. "We will develop research frameworks to provide comparative analysis of agricultural and social systems with a view to developing insights and solutions to maximise the potential of agriculture to reduce undernutrition. Building on existing regional partnerships and networks, LANSA aims to emerge as a powerful regional hub."
For more information please contact Julia Powell, Research Uptake Manager, LANSA at firstname.lastname@example.org, T: +44 1273 915609.