India: A fitting host for ANH2019
Researchers, practitioners and policymakers from around the world and across the disciplines of agriculture-food systems, nutrition, and health will soon come together for an annual week-long learning exchange. The Agriculture Nutrition Health (ANH) Academy Week presents an opportunity to share research, build skills, and foster connections. Just released, the 2019 programme presents an exciting lineup of events, topics, and voices.
A key hallmark of the ANH Academy Week is its relocation: each year, the conference is held in a different country, alternating between Africa and Asia, in order to lower barriers to entry and facilitate participation among the global community. Building on progressive successes in Ethiopia, Nepal, and Ghana, the Academy Week organising committee chose India for the 2019 gathering of minds and ideas. A country that needs little introduction, India is one of the fastest growing and advancing economies in the world, with fundamental societal changes, technological shifts, agricultural and nutrition transitions in full swing. As such, India - and the wider South Asia region – reflects many of the most prevalent challenges around the world associated with agriculture-food systems, nutrition, and health.
- Multiple burdens of malnutrition: While undernutrition, micronutrient deficiencies, and stunting persist in many places, overweight and obesity are rising, alongside a growing health burden from non-communicable diseases. In India, this contrast is stark: roughly one-fifth of adults are underweight, yet another one-fifth are overweight or obese.
- Urbanisation and rapidly evolving food systems: Cities all over the world continue to swell, filling with people who have less time to shop for and prepare foods at home. Rising incomes in these urban centers afford consumers more choices, and food systems are evolving to meet these changing demands, but the outcomes are not always good for human health as is the case with highly processed snacks and foodstuffs. Urban residents currently represent 35% of India’s total population,however, the rate of this change and projected trajectory is profound, having more than doubled since 1970. From Jaipur (3.1m), to New Delhi (16.3m) and Mumbai (18.4m), India is home to a number of large and rapidly growing cities, and is therefore grappling with how to ensure its urban populations have access to food that is nutritious and safe – a challenge shared by many other burgeoning cities around the world.
- Supporting rural communities: As cities grow and urban incomes rise, those who live in rural areas risk being left behind. In India, according to the 2015-16 Agriculture Census, small-scale farmers represent over 85% of all farmers the country. Therefore, ensuring access to markets for their products, as well as economic support and social safety nets are among important steps to promote health and nutritional needs.
- Women’s empowerment and ensuring equitable development: All over the world, women face barriers to development, from being able to start businesses to having control over household income and the nutritional needs of themselves and their children. With agriculture accounting for over 55% of female employment in India, the nexus between food, work and power represents vital pathways by which welfare and health can be improved.
ANH Academy Week presents an opportunity for researchers, practitioners and policymakers to come together across sectors and disciplines to learn from one another and identify ways to collaboratively work together to address these challenges. Though informative learning labs, inspiring keynote address, and invigorating presentations of new research around timely topics, ANH Academy is building the road toward the realisation of our global development goals.
India embodies much of the potential and excitement in these efforts. With a large and vibrant research community, through networks of universities and research institutions; supportive and interested policymakers; and members of the private sector, innovative and groundbreaking work is being done everywhere to address these national development challenges and contribute to broader international efforts.
Embodying this commitment to development efforts in agriculture-food systems, nutrition, and health are ANH Academy Week 2019 partners the National Institute of Nutrition, and the International Food Policy Research Institute. Their knowledge and expertise is invaluable for the development of a programme rich with opportunities to learn.
Whether you are able to join us in Hyderabad for ANH Academy Week from 24-28 June or will participate remotely through one of our virtual options to connect, we look forward to bringing you this dynamic week and engaging with you at the conference and beyond.
For more information about the ANH Academy Week visit our FAQs page.