Agriculture to Nutrition (ATONU): Evaluation of Integrated Agriculture and Nutrition-sensitive Interventions for the African Chicken Genetic Gains (ACGG) Programme in Tanzania

In recent years, agricultural investment in sub-Saharan Africa has increased, leading to increased food production. However, despite increased food production, malnutrition rates are still high. This is because agricultural programmes have traditionally focused on increasing the availability of food rather than promoting consumption and improving nutrition status. This study hypothesized that both ACGG and ATONU can improve women’s and children’s diets via the following three pathways: food production (chicken and vegetables) for own consumption, increased income expenditure on additional nutrient dense foods, and women’s empowerment, all working in concert. The overall aim of the endline assessment was to determine the impact of the ATONU interventions on a range of nutrition indicators for target members of participating households. Interventions implemented were on nutrition education and hygiene, increase expenditure on nutritious food and women empowerment, which were implemented through social and behaviour change communication. Another intervention was on promotion of increased vegetable production for improving dietary diversity. These interventions were evaluated in a cluster randomised study design whereby villages were allocated/assigned to three treatment arms The ACGG treatment arm comprised villages that obtained improved chickens from the ACGG project but did not receive the package of nutrition-sensitive interventions, and the Control treatment arm comprised villages that did not receive improved chickens from the ACGG project and had no package of nutrition-sensitive interventions. Increased production of improved and local chicken led to an increase in the number of eggs that were available to the household for consumption as well as for sale. Dietary diversity of children improved and was statistically significant in the ACGG+ATONU treatment arms than in the other treatment arms. Increased consumption of cereals, oils and fats, eggs, fruits and vegetables mainly contributed to an increase in dietary diversity among x children. This implies that the intervention on nutrition education had an impact on dietary diversity of households.