Agri-Health: The Basic Concept
We need a more integrated, intersectoral approach to developing strategies and policies where agriculture and health interact, particularly in an international development context.
In order to build the evidence base for such joined-up policy, we propose development of unifying research approaches and methodologies between agriculture and health, under a new paradigm, “agri-health”.
This approach will help us to better understand problems associated with development, environmental change, and globalization, and give us tools for their solution. But to do this we need to address some historical and institutional barriers. Agriculture and health sectors have developed policies independently over the past century, often with little interaction. This isolation is reflected in government ministries, multinational business clustering, and the present UN system.
Ultimately it has its origins in universities, and the longstanding, self-reinforcing academic silos that stream professionals into health and agricultural careers with little appreciation of the other, and different tool sets to address shared problems.
Universities therefore have a critical role to play in breaking down silos and building intersectoral and interdisciplinary research initiatives, as well as in ensuring that tomorrow’s professionals have the knowledge and skills necessary to cooperate across sectors.