Research Brief #11: Stocktaking: Agriculture Degree Programs in Nepal

Authors: Nutrition Innovation Lab

Recently, there have been renewed calls for the integration of nutrition, health, and agriculture to improve the nutritional status of populations. Whereas these sectors previously operated in separate realms, various frameworks have been propounded to highlight the importance of a multi‐sectoral approach and to establish links between the sectors to impact nutritional status. The 2008 Lancet Nutrition Series and the Scaling Up Nutrition (SUN) framework have provided evidence‐based interventions that have largely guided efforts at an integrated approach to address maternal and child undernutrition. The Government of Nepal (GoN) has made a major commitment to improving the nutritional status of the population. It was one of the earliest countries to join the SUN Movement and has articulated a clear strategy for scaling up direct nutrition interventions as well as identifying multi‐ sector strategies for improving nutrition. To this end, in September 2012, the GoN released its Multi‐ Sector Nutrition Plan (MSNP) that will guide the government’s investment for the period 2013‐2017.

While the drafting and adoption of MSNP is a remarkable achievement, the work to realize the goals and outcomes starts now. It is a challenging, if not a daunting task, which will require various ministries to coordinate their efforts and work collectively toward the common goal of reducing undernutrition among women and children. For agriculture, this goal requires not only augmenting food production but also increasing the availability of diverse and nutrient rich foods that can improve the nutritional status of women and children. It also means building the capacity of the agriculture sector to develop agricultural professionals who understand the nutritional requirements and implications beyond their field of expertise. An initial step in developing a framework for capacity investment is the identification of undergraduate and graduate degree‐granting programs in agriculture currently operating in Nepal. The Nutrition Collaborative Research Support Program (Nutrition CRSP) conducted a stocktaking of degree programs in Nepal. This information will feed into a longer term effort to support Nepal’s capacity building efforts.