Stakeholder Perceptions of Agriculture and Nutrition Policies and Practice: Evidence from Afghanistan
Like in other countries in the South Asian region, malnutrition is a serious problem in Afghanistan: the latest national statistics confirm high rates of stunting among vulnerable groups such as children under the age of five (nationally 40 per cent and in certain provinces over 70 per cent). While there are multiple causes of malnutrition, undernutrition and lack of dietary diversity are significant causes and point to the need to address micronutrient deficiencies rather than generalised food insecurity.
More research on policies and policy formulation is needed to explore the nature of the linkages between diverse stakeholders in agriculture and nutrition policies, policy and project processes, and the mechanisms of intersectoral coordination. A crucial policy question is: what are the pathways and incentives needed to ensure that agriculture can have an impact on nutrition? The objectives of the research reported in this Working Paper were to identify the interrelationships among key organisations in agriculture and nutrition, evaluate the local evidence base linking agriculture to nutrition, and understand the perceptions of decision makers about policy making and implementation, and the capacities for improving nutrition through the agri-food system.
Findings concern agriculture and nutrition linkages already existing within the policy environment, how such policies operate in practice at central and provincial levels, the political economy and policy-making process, and gaps and opportunities for leveraging agriculture for nutrition in Afghanistan.
Areas of suggested policy response are:
- greater decentralisation of governance to provincial levels
- improved information flows and knowledge management between central and provincial governments
- investment in infrastructure for agriculture and nutrition
- national trade policies for agribusiness
- investment in departmental government capacity