Integration of food consumption and nutrition considerations into the RIARS farming systems research and extension project in the Bicol region of the Philippines
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The purpose of the research was to describe the relationship of nutrition/consumption to agricultural production and related areas in the diagnosis and preliminary design of project activities and to describe the contributions of a nutrition focus to problem identification, grouping and treatment selection compared with an agricultural focus.
A multidisciplinary team integrated the nutrition/consumption perspective into the rapid community assessment for planning (RCAP) by incorporating topic areas, observational items and questions in each of five stages in the community diagnosis.
Three problems in subsistence food production and consumption were among the top five priority problems. Differences in problems between the team and the community were attributed to differing perspectives. Compared with the agriculture RCAP, nutrition-related problems were reported only to a limited degree and their rankings were generally lower.
Seasonality was a particularly important linkage, along with income, labor, enterprise mix and markets. Groups of farm families based mainly on farming system shared production-related but not nutrition-related characteristics. The household characteristics most useful for research domain subgroups were agroecology, produce disposal, resources and food and income gaps. Nutrition/consumption information enabled the team to plan separate research designs for groups of families with similar conditions.
Production factors identified for investigation related to the priority problem of food crop production included crop protection, soil improvement, pest and disease control and overall plot design. Nutrition/ consumption aspects related to research trials included: selection of crops and varieties for filling food, income and nutrient gaps; and other nutrition-related areas of sanitation, labor and post-harvest storage, many of which were established based on nutrition information integrated into the RCAP. Areas for ex ante analysis included food preferences, sanitation and womenâ s time conflicts. The nutrition focus contributed information important for problem identification, grouping and treatment selection.
- Masters Theses