Towards eliminating anemia in the high Andes: linking social protection with agriculture and nutrition interventions for scaling
Despite notable progress to reduce poverty and malnutrition in Peru through a series of government interventions over the past decade, anemia among women and children in rural areas of the Andes is still a major challenge for social protection and national development programs. Diverse efforts implemented independently by several agencies have not proven effective and the Ministry of Social Protection recognizes that a new approach is necessary in order to make significant progress.
The Lima, Peru-based Centro International de la Papa, also known as the International Potato Center, developed improved potato varieties with high iron and zinc content that could help reduce the prevalence of anemia in rural populations (for whom the potato is the main staple food), particularly among children and women. However, potatoes alone will not be sufficient to provide a balanced nutritious diet, therefore this project will explore measures that could complement the bio-fortified food sources.
Government and non-government agencies will work together in the municipality of Curgos, Peru’s most vulnerable rural area and a priority region for the government, on a coordinated strategy that combines interventions in agriculture, health, education, and value chains. The strategy will be piloted in Curgos and policy recommendations and approaches for scaling up will be made directly to the ministries of social protection and agriculture, which have been engaged in the project since the project’s formulation.
The project team includes relevant experts in agronomy, economics, health, nutrition, and policy research. Lessons gained through this pilot study would inform the use of the approach worldwide by the extensive network of the Root, Tubers and Bananas program of the Consultative Group for International Agricultural Research.