Webinar: Diagnostics to support the identification, design, and evaluation of interventions in value chains to improve diets of low-income populations

Date and Time

Thursday, May 11, 2017 - 14:00

Event type



virtual (webinar) - London time


Aulo Gelli (IFPRI), Noora-Lisa Aberman (IFPRI), Jason Donovan (ICRAF), Amy Margolies (JHU), Marco Santacroce (IFPRI)

Speaker bio

Aulo Gelli is a Research Fellow in the Poverty, Health, and Nutrition Division (IFPRI).  His main interests and experience lie broadly within the intersection of food policy and nutrition, with a particular focus on evaluating the impact of child health and nutrition interventions in low-income settings. His background and training involves a range of disciplines, and follows his interest in understanding complex systems. Gelli trained as a physicist at Imperial College London, then gained a MSc degree in neural networks at Kings College London working on semantic memory models, and then studied human perception at the Laboratory of Neurobiology at UCL. He then transitioned his career towards food policy, gaining a Masters degree in development economics and food security at the University of Rome, and a DPhil at the School of Public Health at Imperial College, studying the links between malnutrition and learning in school children in low-income settings.


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Emerging evidence on the nutrition double burden suggests income growth alone cannot solve the problem of malnutrition and may in fact create problems linked to overweight and obesity. The challenge from the nutrition perspective is how to sustainably improve diets, as well as other health-related behaviors, across different low-income populations. In recent years, the nutrition community has explored  value chain approaches to address malnutrition. The value chain framework focuses on the actors involved in the production, processing, trade, and consumption of a given product, and the opportunities to achieve beneficial economic outcomes for some or all of the actors through changes in the structures, systems, and relationships. Because value chains play a key role in determining food availability, affordability, and quality, they have a role in shaping diets and can contribute to improving nutrition. Most applications, however, have focused on a single chain and its implications for nutrition, which from a diet quality perspective implies a partial solution at best. The challenge lies in better understanding the options for leveraging a set of value chains (a multi-chain focus) to address the various constraints to improving the diets of a given target group. This case study from the Zomba District of southern Malawi applies data from household surveys, in-depth individual interviews, and market surveys to examine opportunities for improved diets through leveraging demand and supply of nutritious foods, and enhancing value chain performance with a nutrition lens. Preliminary results on bottlenecks and opportunities provide insights for policy and programs.
This webinar draws on the research undertaken as part of an IMMANA funded project Leveraging value chains to improve nutrition: collaborative learning initiative on methods and metrics for improving the identification, design and evaluation of interventions.