Feed the Future
This project is part of the U.S. Government's global hunger and food security initiative.

Extending Our Reach: Symposium on Improving Human Nutrition and Incomes Through Effective Livestock Research and Extension Partnerships

The symposium on improving human nutrition and incomes through effective livestock research and extension partnerships was organized by the Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Livestock Systems at the University of Florida and hosted by the Government of Nepal’s Department of Livestock Services within the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development. It was held April 25-26, 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal. View the symposium's presentations & posters.

Purpose: To gather ministers and other key policy-makers, researchers, public and private sector extension workers, producer organizations, and university administrators to discuss the global relevance of bridging research to extension and agriculture to nutrition linkages for improving human nutrition and livestock production.

Outcomes: Participants indicated that the symposium had increased their knowledge and met its objectives to:

  • Unite stakeholders in seeking to bridge gaps between research in livestock agriculture, and extension and nutrition
  • Obtain a broad, international perspective of different extension systems and experiences
  • Identify innovative strategies and mechanisms, and public-private pathways, to improve connections of livestock research with extension and livestock production with human nutrition
  • Invigorate partnerships between research and extension for improving human nutrition and livestock productivity

Participants: The symposium was attended by a total of 166 participants (30 percent female and 70 percent male) from 14 countries, representing government ministries, research institutions, universities, NGO’s and private sector companies. The symposium was strongly supported by Nepali stakeholders, who made up two-thirds of the attendees, and it also united key stakeholders from five other nations targeted by the Livestock Systems Innovation Lab: Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Niger, and Rwanda.  

Key Ideas and Observations

1. Globally, malnutrition costs an estimated $3.5 trillion USD every year, and the impacts of malnutrition are life-long and irreversible. Animal-source foods (ASF) like eggs, milk and meat from various types of livestock in proper amounts can improve diets low in protein, essential amino acids, vitamins and minerals.

2. Challenges to be addressed include making high-quality ASF accessible, affordable and available to vulnerable populations, addressing food safety issues in ASF, and fostering linkages between agriculture and nutrition.

3. Research on increasing production and efforts to promote consumption of ASF are underway in Nepal and other emerging economies, but linkages with extension, human nutrition and across sectors are weak, thus limiting the current impact of investments in research.

4. There are diverse examples of research and extension linkages to draw from and apply to specific country contexts. Through strategic, purposeful planning and dialogue, policy makers, researchers, and university administrators can generate new ideas to improve research and extension linkages in their home countries.

5. For research and extension linkages to be effective, ensure that extension efforts are informed by research, well resourced, regularly monitored and evaluated, communicated appropriately and sustained for the long term. Research needs to be informed by farmers’ needs and planned with farmers or extension agents, where feasible. Also, incentivize extensionists’ efforts—especially university lecturers.

Recommended Action Points

  • Encourage researchers, extensionists, farmers and other end users to develop strategic plans to break down barriers between research and extension.
  • Estimate the potential economic value of better research to extension linkages.
  • Promote the notion that food security is critical for national security.
  • Act now on steps that can be taken immediately to improve research and extension linkages.
  • Adapt the US land grant model of linking research to extension to your country.
  • Properly resource extension efforts and reward extensionists for their work, particularly when done by university lecturers.

Content of the Symposium

More details about the symposium, including links to presentations and posters, are available on our website at http://livestocklab.ifas.ufl.edu/events/2019-global-nutrition-symposium/.

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