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Strategic Research Areas

Promoting Healthy Food Systems

Healthy diets depend on access to nutritious, safe food. IFPRI’s research on creating healthy food systems focuses on the synergies among agriculture, health, and nutrition.

Under the CHANGE project, IFPRI evaluated the potential of an Enhanced Homestead Food Production (EHFP) model to improve the nutritional status of infants and young children and their mothers through agriculture, women’s empowerment, and nutrition and health behavior change communication (BCC). A two-year EHFP project in Burkina Faso resulted in a decrease in child and iron-deficiency anemia. Adding water, sanitation, and hygiene components to the EHFP program led to an even greater reduction in anemia rates.

Stories of Change in Nutrition uncovered success stories in reducing undernutrition in six countries. Nepal, for example, achieved impressive reductions with programmatic changes in health, education, and sanitation practices in maternal and child undernutrition. In Ethiopia, commitments and coherence from the federal to local levels drove nutrition-sensitive interventions for improving livelihoods and living conditions.

In Egypt, the double burden of malnutrition—undernutrition and overweight and obesity—is highly prevalent. Nutrition and Economic Development: Exploring Egypt’s Exceptionalism and the Role of Food Subsidies identifies the incentives created by Egypt’s food subsidy system for calorie-dense, nutritionally poor diets. The book argues for reforms that would transform the system into a key instrument for fighting malnutrition.

From the blog

By Phong Nguyen, Sunny Kim, and Purnima Menon


In eastern Kenya, IFPRI worked with such partners as the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture to establish a model for an aflatoxin-safe maize supply chain. Most farmers were willing to use the new postharvest technology when it was offered for free, but demand dropped off when a fee was charged. Nevertheless, aflatoxin contamination of stored maize fell by 30 percent in villages using the technology.

Engagement through Partnerships and Opportunities to Strengthen and Harmonize Actions for Nutrition in India (POSHAN) included hosting the first-ever implementation research conference to discuss nutrition services. POSHAN’s successes are gaining widespread recognition, and the model has been expanded to other regions.