A Qualitative Look at the Barriers to Interdisciplinary Collaboration in Agriculture and Nutrition Research in Nepal

Authors: C. Fitch

Nepal’s burden of malnutrition and the dominance of agricultural livelihoods highlight the importance of understanding the pathways from agricultural production to nutritional outcomes and employing interventions that incorporate food production and consumption. A need for improved understanding of such pathways and the impacts of nutrition-sensitive interventions has encouraged related research initiatives in Nepal. Agriculture research has often been conducted separately from nutrition research, despite the inherent relationship between agriculture and nutrition in rural Nepal’s food-producing households and increasing recognition that agricultural production directly influences food availability and consumption. Interdisciplinary research between the fields of agriculture and nutrition may clarify and measure the ways that different agricultural practices alleviate or contribute to malnutrition and could eventually inform programs and policies that address malnutrition in the context of Nepal’s predominant agricultural systems. To encourage collaborative research and increase the effectiveness of nutrition- and agriculture-related interventions and policy initiatives, we must understand the institutional factors inhibiting interdisciplinary collaboration in research.

This study identified 1) past and current activities of agriculture and nutrition research institutes and organizations in Nepal 2) commonly perceived barriers to interdisciplinary research and activities between the fields of agriculture and nutrition 3) recommendations for addressing these barriers and improving interdisciplinary collaboration in research in Nepal. Identifying and understanding the institutional barriers to interdisciplinary collaboration in agriculture and nutrition research may allow stakeholders to address these barriers and foster collaboration in the future.