Understanding Livestock’s Role in Building Stronger Food Systems for Better Nutrition
We know that livestock represents an important source of animal-source foods that are rich in several micronutrients associated with growth and cognitive development. Yet we have limited evidence to suggest animal-sourced food is a causal factor in positive health outcomes. We know even less about the unintended impacts that livestock may have on nutrition within food systems. For example, how do strategies to reduce exposure to multiple food-borne hazards impact environmental enteric dysfunction and child growth? Or, what are the positive and negative health impacts of common practices used to ensure perishable products reach markets?
These and other questions were the focus of a recent evidence review led by the USAID Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Nutrition. Earlier this month, USAID Advancing Nutrition, the Agency’s flagship multi-sectoral nutrition project, hosted a week-long e-consultation on Agrilinks to discuss findings from the evidence review and identify additional gaps to guide future research on the linkages between food systems and nutrition. Participants from across the globe shared their perspective on research priorities, from production and processing to food safety, loss, and waste to gender, resilience, sustainability, and more.
We have synthesized the evidence review and resulting discussion into this short survey to help prioritize future research questions.