The 4th Annual Agriculture, Nutrition, and Health (ANH) Academy Week is being held this week, from June 24, to June 28, 2019 in Hyderabad. The international conference is organised by the global research network ANH Academy, led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine’s (LSHTM) IMMANA programme (Innovative Methods and Metrics for Agriculture and Nutrition Actions), and the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). This year, the Academy Week is held in partnership with the National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), alongside other partners.
The conference will be opened by representatives of the organisers and partners including: Etela Rajender, Minister, Health, Medical and Family Welfare, Government of Telangana; Chamakura Malla Reddy, Minister, Women & Child Welfare and Skill Development, Government of Telangana and Dr. Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India. Dr. Shahidur Rashid, IFPRI Director for South Asia, and Dr. R. Hemalatha, Director, NIN will deliver the welcome address.
Over the course of the week, attendees will share and discuss innovative research being conducted linking the fields of agriculture, nutrition, and health, and beyond, and how that research can inform actions.
“National Institute of Nutrition has a proud privilege of co-hosting the Agriculture, Nutrition and Health Academy Week here in Hyderabad,” said Dr. Bharati Kulkarni, Deputy Director of NIN. “It is noteworthy that the global community of interdisciplinary researchers working on agriculture and food systems for improved nutrition and health have gathered together for exchange of knowledge.”
“The conference goals,” she added, “are highly aligned with the goals of our institution and we are certain that the experiences from different parts of the world on how agriculture and food systems can be strengthened to improve nutrition will be of immense value for the researchers, practitioners and policy makers in India.”
Following successful meetings in Accra, Ghana, in 2018; Kathmandu, Nepal, in 2017; and Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, in 2016, the ANH Academy returns to Asia this year.
“We are delighted to hold this year’s ANH Academy Week in India,” said Dr. John McDermott, Director of A4NH. “ANH Academy Week is deliberately held in the global South, so far rotating between Africa and South Asia. A key goal of ours is to engage and support researchers in these regions, and the geographic proximity enables young researchers to participate and connect with senior figures in their fields from around the world.”
Suneetha Kadiyala, Associate Professor at LSHTM and Principal Investigator of IMMANA, said. “Agricultural food systems are evolving quickly, and we need to ensure they meet the nutritional needs of everyone – not just a few. ANH Academy researchers are building an evidence base to inform policy actions to ensure global food systems are sustainable and equitable, regardless of geography, gender, age, or social or economic status.”
Organisers expect more than 350 attendees from India and across Asia, as well as from Africa, Europe, Oceana and the Americas, from more than 35 countries.
The work to be discussed has high relevance locally. Throughout the week, researchers will consider issues of significant concern in India, and Telangana specifically, including: water, health and nutrition security; poor diet quality and lack of dietary diversity and how to improve both to ensure healthy diets with optimal caloric and micronutrient consumption and how to ensure rapidly changing food systems, with longer value chains, that are changing diets and livelihoods, are sustainable and equitable; as consumption of fish and meat increase, how to ensure these and other nutrient-rich foods are safe; lessons from the successes and challenges of public programmes to promote agriculture and nutrition linkages in different contexts; and ensuring development is more health and nutrition focused in the context that increased incomes do not guarantee improved health and better nutrition.
From the conference, organisers expect new connections to bring about increased collaborations across borders, disciplines, and perspectives. A particular focus will be connecting researchers to policymakers and agencies implementing programmes on the ground. It is hoped that this vital research will inform policies and practices to improve the state of agriculture and nutrition in Asia and globally.