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ATONU - Agriculture to Nutrition

ATONU is a new international initiative that aims to improve nutrition for all through agriculture.

The six-year project brings together a global consortium of partner institutions and focuses on sub-Saharan Africa: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Tanzania and either Ghana or Uganda.

Farm Africa is proud to be one of the ATONU consortium partners.

The Problem

Agricultural investment is increasing in sub-Saharan Africa, and food production is rising. Yet as agricultural programmes have traditionally focused on increasing the amount of food rather than improving nutrition levels, the number of children suffering from malnutrition is rising rather than falling. Africa has the highest malnutrition rates in the world, and it is vital that agricultural programmes start to take nutrition into account if they are to provide long-term food security.

It is during the first 1,000 days of a child's life - the period between their conception and their second birthday - that the building blocks are laid for future health and cognitive development. Inadequate nutrition in the first 1,000 days of life is almost impossible to compensate for and children can suffer from stunting as a result, which affects not just growth but mental health and educational achievement. Stunting is a major problem in Africa, with 40% of children under five affected. 

There are many barriers to good nutrition, including a lack of knowledge about which crops are nutrient rich, insufficient harvesting, poor storage and farmers struggling to access markets, all of which can prevent nutritious foods reaching the people who need them. Women’s lack of empowerment plays a huge part – when women are able to decide what to grow and how household budgets are spent, nutrition improves.

What ATONU aims to do

ATONU wants to improve the nutrition of women, children and smallholder farming families by enabling them to grow and buy the right type and amount of food they need to be healthy. ATONU’s mission is to generate, collect and share evidence of effective ways in which agriculture can improve nutrition, to design practical interventions and to provide technical support to programmes. The project will target those most vulnerable to malnutrition: women of child-bearing age and children in their first 1,000 days of life.

Who is involved?

FANRPAN (Food, Agriculture and Natural Resources) is the lead consortium partner.

NRI (Natural Resources Institute)

LCIRAH (Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health)

ASI (Agribusiness Systems International)

SUA (Sokoine University of Agriculture)

AfrII (Africa Innovations Institute) 

Farm Africa is a partner in the ATONU consortium. We have country hub offices in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda and extensive networks of mobilised farmers and farm groups. We bring a solid grounding in project implementation and close working relationships with local governments, key stakeholders and the local media. 

How can I learn more?

ATONU will officially launch on Wednesday 28 October 2015. Please visit the ATONU website for more information or contact ATONU with media requests.