Opening up space to share policy insights from LANSA's FSN study in India

The M S Swaminathan Research Foundation organised a consultation to share and discuss policy insights from the Farming System for Nutrition (FSN) study on-going under LANSA. The event took place at IMAGE conference Hall, Bhubaneswar, Odisha, India, on March 22, 2017. The LANSA short film on  'South Asia: Women in Agriculture-The Nutrition Connection' was also screened on the occasion. 

Shri R. Balakrishnan, IAS, Development Commissioner-cum-Additional Chief Secretary Planning and Convergence Department, Govt. Of Odisha, Dr Sipra Mallick, member, Odisha State Food Commission, Dr. Surendra Nath Pasupalak, Vice Chancellor, Odisha University of Agriculture & Technology were the chief guests. Dr Ravinder Reddy, Director, Biju Patnaik Medicinal Plants Garden & Research Center, MSSRF, Jeypore, welcomed the gathering and moderated the discussion. In his opening remarks he highlighted the importance of farming system for nutrition for tribal rural households of Odisha. Dr. R V Bhavani gave a brief overview of the LANSA research programme.     

Setting the tone for further discussion following the remarks by the Development Commissioner and the Vice Chancellor, Dr. Nitya Rao observed that nutrition concerns have to be integrated into decisions relating to crop choice; appropriate pricing and procurement signals are important; work patterns across seasons have to be taken into account and producers should be the centre of planning and decision making otherwise implementation will be stuck; and with men migrating in search of jobs, it is the women who are increasingly handling all the responsibilities.

There was discussion around organic farming, the inputs needed for promoting it and support for the related costs; promotion of indigenous breeds of poultry and livestock. The importance of post-harvest processing and consumption to promote better nutrition were highlighted. 

The Deputy Director (Nutrition) from the Department of Health observed that about 56 per cent of severe and acutely malnourished children coming for treatment and care at the government rehabilitation centres were from tribal families. The children are accompanied by their mothers and are required to stay for a fortnight. There are fifty such centres in the state and annually about 6000 families come to them. This is a group that can be reached through appropriate communication material and counselling. Information and education on nutrition awareness regarding different foods and the importance of consuming them, aspects of cooking and storage will be greatly beneficial for them. If such material were made available, they could integrate the same for outreach through these centres.

Amrita Patel, General Secretary, SANSRITI, observed that presentation of the recommendations for policy from a department perspective will be helpful. Nutrition status of migrant households and women headed households she felt were areas that can benefit from greater research, to contribute to appropriate policy recommendations. A gender budget analysis of the allocations under agriculture also will also contribute to better understanding.

The consultation concluded with vote of thanks by Dr. R V Bhavani. The meeting witnessed around thirty participants from different research institutions, NGOs  and donor agencies and was well received. Media was also present. 

Full report of the event can be found here.

Aliza Pradhan & R V Bhavani
Thursday, March 30, 2017

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South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies



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