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Improved nutrition in Zambia – the role of agricultural research

Scientists from Zambia and CGIAR meet to explore how to better contribute to achieving Zambian national agriculture and nutrition goals
Lusaka, Zambia (20 March 2012). Scientists from CGIAR and Zambian research institutions held a half-day seminar in Lusaka to present updates on ongoing agricultural research that aims to improve nutrition security in Zambia. The seminar was convened by the National Food and Nutrition Commission and WorldFish to provide an opportunity for discussing how agricultural research in Zambia can effectively support national nutrition and agriculture goals. 24 scientists and government, NGO and donor representatives attended. Presenters included Freddie Mubanga (National Food and Nutrition Commission), Drinah Nyirenda (University of Zambia), John Musanya (Zambia Agricultural Research Institute), John McDermott (Director of CRP 4, IFPRI), Shakuntala Thilsted (WorldFish), Fabiana Moura (HarvestPlus), Isabel Madzorera (IITA) and Emily Mueller (CIP). It was chaired by Dr Cassim Masi, Executive Director of the National Food and Nutrition Commission.
The main tenor from the presentations and discussions was that the partnerships between the CGIAR and Zambian research institutions are growing and diversifying and that they should and can contribute more effectively to achieving national agriculture and nutrition goals. In order to realize this, stronger technical dialogue and collaboration is needed between research centers and programs, to inform policy dialogue in support of Zambia’s two main national plans in this sector, the national Investment Plan of the Comprehensive Africa Agriculture Programme (CAADP) and the National Food and Nutrition Strategy.
Representatives of Cooperating Partners in Zambia welcomed this initiative. EU: “Cooperating Partners are keen to support policy dialogue around food and nutrition security in Zambia, but policy forums require up-to-date and credible evidence in order to be effective. Sometimes this can be a constraint. Technical and scientific seminars like this can add real value in this regard and we want to see them linked effectively into national policy dialogue.”
National Food and Nutrition Commission: “Passion for nutrition among agricultural scientists, as we saw in this seminar, is important for achieving the national nutrition goals. While there are other important dimensions to nutrition security, agriculture has a crucial role to play. We need to overcome institutional constraints to bridge the health and agricultural sectors as called for in the National Food and Nutrition Strategy. This can start through practical collaboration between scientists of different disciplines and institutions and effective dissemination of research results into the policy process.’
Moving forward, CGIAR and Zambian scientists will intensify their scientific dialogue and build a ‘community of practice’ around agriculture for improved nutrition in Zambia. The different CGIAR programs and centers in Zambia will lead by example and have regular meetings to share and exchange results, methodologies and research plans. This will strengthen the CGIAR as a partner and offer more coherent support to the Zambian national research system. Immediate opportunities for focused scientific dialogue and joint field level events will be pursued in Eastern Province where all of the CGIAR centers have ongoing programs. Secondly, a national policy dialogue is planned for mid June to discuss how best to link CGIAR research for nutrition into the development of Country Investment Plans for agriculture (CAADP) and nutrition (National Food and Nutrition Strategy).
Presentations from the seminar are embedded below.
Nutrition Enhancement through Orang-fleshed Sweetpotato

Agriculture for Improved Nurtition and Health

Biofortification Provitamin A Maize in Zambia

Research in Agriculture and Nutrition, Zambia

National Food and Nutrition Strategic Plan 2011-2015

Agricultural Research for Improved Nutrition in Zambia

Fish in the First 1,000 Days

Contribution to Nutrition Improvement

For more information on the seminar or any aspect of this topic, please contact Dr. Simon Heck or Ms. Tabeth Chiuta, WorldFish Zambia Office at (+260) 211 257939, (+260) 211 257940 or email at worldfish-zambia@cgiar.org