One third of the world’s malnourished children live in India. Rates of undernutrition reduction are disturbingly sluggish when compared to the rate at which the Indian economy has grown in recent years. Given that agriculture employs more than half the Indian workforce — and is an especially important source of livelihood in poorer rural areas – the sector could and should play a bigger role in reducing undernutrition in the country. What lies behind the enduring paradox of pervasive undernutrition in a rapidly growing economy? How to bridge the agriculture-nutrition disconnect? This is the primary goal of the TANDI project (Tackling the Agriculture-Nutrition Disconnect in India) which aims to better understand and address the failure of sustained economic and agricultural growth to make significant inroads into levels of malnutrition in India.
Over an 18 month period in 2010-11, TANDI seeks to generate broad-based consensus on the nature of the “agriculture-nutrition disconnect” in India and elucidate key pathways of potential impact of agricultural growth on nutrition. Background review and synthesis work will lead to the identification of knowledge gaps, and “quick win” opportunities for using existing datasets to test emerging hypotheses. An essential part of the project will be to develop and catalyze a process and a platform for improving the connectivity between development and agriculture economists, nutritionists, policymakers and practitioners. Through stakeholder mapping and institutional capacity assessments, leading national organization/s will be identified to take forward the work of the emerging platform, and a strategy will be developed to this end. Finally, the project seeks to connect with other stakeholders working on the nutrition-health axis, in preparation for the future development of a nutrition knowledge/innovations network in India.