The agriculture-nutrition disconnect in India

What do we know?

India is home to one-third of the world’s malnourished children. This figure that remains stubbornly high, despite the country having the second-fastest growing economy in the world, with agriculture accounting for a significant part of that growth. Agriculture continues to be the primary source of livelihood for the majority of nutritionally vulnerable households in India. In order to maximize the nutrition-sensitivity of agriculture, we need to first map existing evidence of the various links, pathways and disconnects between agriculture and nutrition. We start with a narrative review of the background literature for India, including an assessment of trends in nutrition and agriculture indicators. A conceptual framework is then put forward to aid in the systematic search for links and disconnects, delineating seven key pathways between agriculture and nutrition. Evidence is then mapped to these pathways through a summary of the literature for each pathway as well as a fully annotated bibliography. A data audit assesses gaps and overlaps in survey data containing information on agriculture and nutrition indicators, on which future analyses could be built. Overall, the authors find that the conceptual framework is useful in this process, and conclude that there are some significant gaps in the literature and in the data currently available to analyze linkages between agriculture and nutrition. Data and policy disconnects need to be bridged to enhance the nutrition sensitivity of agriculture in India.

Gillespie, Stuart
Harris, Jody
Kadiyala, Suneetha
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International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
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