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BRIDGING THE GAP BETWEEN THE AGRICULTURE AND HEALTH SECTORS 187


BOX 1 Examples of Successful Agriculture and Health Collaboration


Homestead food production. The linkages between agriculture and nutrition are particularly strong and direct for farmers and agricultural laborers. The work of Helen Keller International (HKI) on homestead food production in four Asian countries offers an example of agriculture’s positive contributions to good nutrition. The HKI program aimed to improve the nutritional status of vulnerable members of low-income households in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Nepal, and the Philippines by promoting small-scale production and con- sumption of micronutrient-rich crops and small animals. As a result of the program, households are producing and consuming more micronutrient-rich foods; they are earning increased incomes from the sale of high-value products; and mothers, infants, and children have better micronutrient intakes (HKI/ Asia-Pacific 2001). Biofortification. Biofortification—the process of breeding food crops


that are rich in essential micronutrients—is another agricultural strategy with proven benefits for health and nutrition. Orange-fleshed sweet potato (rich in vitamin A), for example, represents a successful agriculture and health partner- ship that has had well-documented impacts on vitamin A intake and status of young children in Mozambique (Low et al. 2007 and Hotz et al. 2011). Irrigation and malaria control. Irrigation brings higher agricultural


yields and incomes but can heighten the risk of malaria transmission, thus decreasing agricultural productivity. Successful partnerships between agricul- ture and health have allowed implementation of preventive measures to control malaria while modifying or manipulating agricultural water systems. Options include location-specific drainage techniques, intermittent wetting and drying of rice fields, alternation of rice with a dryland crop, and use of livestock as “bait” for mosquitoes (Mutero et al. 2005). Agriculture and HIV/AIDS response. The majority of people affected by


HIV and AIDS depend on agriculture, and their livelihoods are undermined by the disease in many countries. There is tremendous scope for agricultural policy to become more HIV-responsive and further both health and agricul- tural goals. For example, to overcome the lack of land and labor often facing AIDS-affected households, the Livelihoods Recovery through Agriculture Programme, implemented in Lesotho in 2002 by CARE and the Ministry of Agriculture, promotes production of crops with high nutritional content on small plots of land close to the home. Fifty-three percent of participants reported that they had stabilized or increased their food production (Abbot et al. 2005).


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