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). Additionally, micronutrient deficiencies are strongly implicated in malnutrition among women and adolescent girls, conditions which are likely to perpetuate the generational consequences. To improve nutritional status, a multipronged approach has been called for
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. Therapeutic approaches to treating undernutrition are important, particularly in situations of conflict and disaster, but food-based approaches can play a significant part in addressing chronic deficiencies, implying a major role for agriculture. In Afghanistan, more than projects and interventions, there is potential to re-orient the whole agriculture sector towards the nutrition agenda.
This paper is a part of the Leveraging Agriculture for Nutrition in South Asia (LANSA) programme
Nigel Poole, Chona Echavez, Dominic Rowland. Stakeholder Perceptions of Agriculture and Nutrition Policies and Practice: Evidence from Afghanistan. LANSA working paper 9, September 2016 78pp
Published 1 September 2016