Nutrition

Nutrition

Nutrition and gender are very closely linked and therefore, the gender strategy to include women and young females applies to nutrition as well. Sri Lanka has an exceptional high figure of wasting (acute under-nutrition), reaching 21%, low birth weight of 18% and women's (15-49 years) anemia at 26%. The stunting (chronic under-nutrition) rate is reported as 15%. These are alarming figures and need to be addressed in a multi-sectoral manner. The multi-sectoral approach to nutrition in Sri Lanka allows SAP to get engaged directly, or through partnerships with main actors like UNICEF and WFP. Three avenues are suitable for nutrition enhancement:

01. Promotion of food with high nutrient value (e.g. legumes, fruits and vegetables, animal source protein) through the value chain approach;
02. Nutrition education targeting the female and male smallholder farmers (incl. female and male youth); and;
03. Capacity building in nutrition targeting all stakeholders and in particular the agricultural extension service.

The promotion of nutrition sensitive value chains through the consumption pathway is feasible in the case of cereals, vegetables, fruits and animal products (here: dairy and poultry). It is less possible in the case of spices in which the income pathway plays a more important role. Nutrition education will enhance informed decision making with regard to quality and quantity of the diet at household level. Increased dietary diversity is key for an improved nutritional outcome. Capacity building in nutrition, in particular for change agents like extension officers and social mobilizers, will increase the outreach of nutrition messaging. Taking into consideration the high percentage of low birth weight babies, the understanding of the inter generational cycle of malnutrition and its effects also on economic development, is the important information to be transmitted in the context of SAPP.

Overall, sustainability of the programme takes into consideration the rapidly developing context in Sri Lanka. The expectation is that at the end of the programme period, there is a very strong likelihood that the private sector and banking sector are able to continue to develop their relationships with farmers groups, and without the need for government or exteranal pdevelopment partner interventions. Effectively, SAP is facilitating the solid foundation and transition to sustainable 4Ps. 180. Through the mechanism of the 4P partnerships, sustainability is implicitly embedded into the programme; the sustainability of the 4P arrangement is further reinforced by the enhanced linkages to the formal financial sector (commercial banks) for rural/ microfinance. It is reasonably expected that the process of dialogue and negotiation between producers, their representatives and the private sector in finalizing the proposed BPs and in its implementation, is serving to build a culture of trust and normalize working relationships. As mutually beneficial arrangements, the mechanisms of the partnership will continue beyond the programme lifetime. Simultaneously, the promotion of rural finance linked to the 4P arrangement, is building the understanding and capacity of financial institutions (notably loan officers) to appraise small producer needs and requests, and changing mindsets towards accepting farming as a business. The range of ‘partners’ involved in the 4P scheme, is in itself, the exit strategy.

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