Developing integrative methods for describing food production and consumption linkages: The case of the Bicol FSR/E Project
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Despite being the ultimate desirable outcome of agricultural interventions, very few studies have explored the nutritional outcomes of agricultural research projects. The purpose of this study was to identify relevant nutritional considerations in the design of agricultural interventions in the Bicol Farming Systems Research and Development Project in the Philippines. A multidisciplinary team of an agricultural production specialist, a social scientist, an extension specialist, and a home management specialist used nutrition surveillance data, sit reconnaissance, key informant group interviews, community planning, and household visits to find linkages between food consumption and production in farming systems. Timing of food and income gaps, basic lack of food, and labor constraints proved to be the most critical points to consider in agricultural intervention design. One particular useful and unique tool was a food and income gaps calendar that described food and income sources and their seasonal variability. This study provides a practical model for integrating nutritional concerns in agricultural research projects.