BACKGROUND: Unlocking the agricultural potential of Africa offers a genuine opportunity to address malnutrition and drive development of the continent.
OBJECTIVE: Using Senegal as a case study, to identify gaps and opportunities to strengthen agricultural policies with nutrition-sensitive approaches.
METHODS: We carried out a systematic analysis of 13 policy documents that related to food production, agriculture, food security, or nutrition. Next, we collected data during a participatory analysis with 32 national stakeholders and in-depth interviews with 15 national experts of technical directorates of the different ministries that deal with agriculture and food production.
RESULTS: The current agricultural context has various elements that are considered to enhance its nutrition sensitivity. On average, 8.3 of the 17 Food and Agriculture Organization guiding principles for agriculture programming for nutrition were included in the policies reviewed. Ensuring food security and increasing dietary diversity were considered to be the principal objectives of agricultural policies. Although there was considerable agreement that agriculture can contribute to nutrition, current agricultural programs generally do not target communities on the basis of their nutritional vulnerability. Agricultural programs were reported to have specific components to target female beneficiaries but were generally not used as delivery platforms for nutritional interventions.
CONCLUSIONS: The findings of this study indicate the need for a coherent policy environment across the food system that aligns recommendations at the national level with local action on the ground. In addition, specific activities are needed to develop a shared understanding of nutrition and public health nutrition within the agricultural community in Senegal.