News and updates on research on livestock value chains by the International Livestock Research Institute and partners

Friday, February 10, 2012

Agriculture-associated diseases featured in new book on agriculture for nutrition and health

On 10-12 February 2011, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) organized a conference in New Delhi, India with the theme, Leveraging agriculture for improving nutrition and health.

To commemorate the first anniversary of the conference, IFPRI has published a book which is a compilation of the background papers originally commissioned for the event and subsequently peer-reviewed and revised.

The 23 chapters in Reshaping Agriculture for Nutrition and Health, edited by Shenggen Fan and Rajul Pandya-Lorch, examine how much more agriculture could do to improve human well-being if it included specific policies, actions, and interventions to achieve health and nutrition goals; what kinds of changes would maximize agriculture’s contribution to human health and nutrition; and how human health and nutrition could contribute to a productive and sustainable agricultural system.

One of the chapters, Agriculture-associated diseases: Adapting agriculture to improve human health by John McDermott and Delia Grace, examines the range of agriculture-associated diseases and explores opportunities for shaping agriculture to improve health outcomes, and related policy implications.

McDermott joined IFPRI in October 2011 as the director of the CGIAR Research Program on Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH). He was previously the deputy director general for research at the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI).

Grace leads ILRI's research team on animal health, food safety and zoonoses. She is also the program manager for the agriculture-associated diseases component of A4NH.

Below is an excerpt from the chapter:
"Agriculture and health are intimately linked. Many diseases have agricultural roots —food-borne diseases, water-associated diseases, many zoonoses, most emerging infectious diseases, and occupational diseases associated with agrifood chains. These diseases create an especially heavy burden for poor countries, with far-reaching impacts. This chapter views agriculture-associated disease as the dimension of public health shaped by the interaction among humans, animals, and agroecoystems. This conceptual approach presents new opportunities for shaping agriculture to improve health outcomes, in the short and long term. Understanding the multiple burdens of disease is a first step in its rational management. As agriculture-associated diseases occur at the interface of human health, animal health, agriculture, and ecosystems, addressing them often requires systems-based thinking and multidisciplinary approaches. These approaches, in turn, require new ways of working and institutional arrangements. Several promising initiatives demonstrate convincing benefits of new ways of working across disciplines, despite the considerable barriers to cooperation."
Download the book here (in its entirety or by individual chapters)

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