People: Pablo Alarcon, Paula Dominguez-Salas, Barbara Haesler, Jonathan Rushton

The livestock sector is rapidly growing in low and middle-income countries, providing opportunities for poverty alleviation and amelioration of nutrition. In poor urban areas, distribution and accessibility of good quality foods can be a challenge. Animal source foods provide essential nutrients for health, but little is known about the impact of obtaining these livestock products from different value chains on nutritional status.

This one-year seed project aims to investigate the relationship between consumers’ access to and use of different food sources and their nutritional status, specifically in low-income households in Nairobi, Kenya. It makes use of synergies with an ongoing interdisciplinary MRC-ESEI funded project called “Epidemiology, Ecology and Socio-Economics of Disease Emergence in Nairobi”, which investigates how new diseases develop and spread in an urban environment. This project adds a nutrition component to the existing work thus broadening the scope of the research already being conducted.

The proposal was awarded a grant from the CGIAR Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH) Research Programme (“Enhancing nutrition in value chains activities” component), and has received complementary funding from the Leverhulme Centre for Integrative Research on Agriculture and Health (LCIRAH), the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) and MRC-ESEI. The nutrition data collected from consumers will be used to model how animal-source foods can help achieve adequate nutrient intakes. These data will be combined with descriptions of livestock value chains data collected in parallel. This will help to understand whether people who consume certain livestock products as part of their diet have a better nutritional status than others. We will also investigate price elasticities to model future demand and consumption in relation to price changes, and consumers’ choices and preferences. These initial data will inform the development of a major research proposal on leveraging animal source foods for nutrition.

Collaborators: International Livestock Research Institute, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, University of Liverpool and University of Edinburgh.

Finger prick blood sample being taken from child to test for anaemia during the nutrition household survey in Nairobi slums
Anaemia testing of a child during the nutrition household survey in Nairobi slums

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