LCIRAH Workshop 2011
This event is organised by the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH) and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)‟s Agriculture and Health Research Platform as well as 2020 Vision Initiative. Support has been provided by the Leverhulme Trust, IFPRI, and International Development Research Centre, as a follow-up to the IFPRI 2020 International Conference in Delhi: "Leveraging Agriculture for Improving Nutrition and Health‟ (http://2020conference.ifpri.info/).
Decoupled policies and systems for agriculture and health are not responding adequately to global nutrition and health needs. Addressing persistent under-nutrition, the growing dietary transition and its serious health effects, the risk of agriculturally-related disease including pandemics, and the consequences of population health for agricultural productivity and food security requires a more integrated approach.
Specifically, we need to have a way of evaluating "agri-health interventions‟: interventions whose full benefits and costs depend on integrating their agricultural and health effects. These include, for instance, improving the nutritional value of crops, reducing the risk of zoonotic disease emergence, or focusing public health interventions to improve economic growth.
The barrier to such integration is the longstanding isolation of health, nutrition, and agriculture, found in research organisations, government ministries, multinational business and intergovernmental bodies. As a result, these sectors have different research languages and tools.
For example, agricultural economists predominantly use summary economic measures of household/ farm consumption/ production outcomes and economic surplus methods to examine issues in the continuum from the production of food and its distribution to consumers: food benefits to health are implicitly assumed to relate to availability and affordability of food energy.
Health economists use economic representations of health impacts (e.g. disability adjusted life years or DALYs) to quantify the benefits of non-health interventions to population health. The compatibility between these measures is ill-understood, and very little research attempts to grapple with cross-sectoral measurement issues to capture the full range of effects. Integration of evaluation requires finding a “common language” and development of shared tools to represent the effects of agricultural change on population health and vice versa.
This workshop in London brought together health and agricultural specialists to explore development of common tools and methods for the evaluation of „agri-health‟ interventions. Its objectives were to:
1. engage the health and agricultural communities to encourage cooperation toward improving agri-health evaluations;
2. identify existing metrics and methods for agri-health evaluations and their value and limitations;
3. identify the potential for improved agri-health evaluation and the research that would be required to develop better tools and methods.