SN4A examines food environments in Uganda and Zambia

Markeplace with vegetables.

Before COVID-19, hundreds of millions of people were already suffering from malnutrition. With the pandemic, food security and nutrition progress has only been threatened further. The combined effects of COVID-19 and the corresponding mitigation measures could, in the long-term, disrupt the functioning of food systems. As highlighted in the recent Global Nutrition Report 2020, current food systems do not enable people to make healthy food choices. The vast majority of people today cannot access or afford a healthy diet. This situation is likely to be exacerbated by the current pandemic.

Spotlight on food environment

In this new technical paper from SNV, we put the spotlight on the food environment and draw on experiences from the Sustainable Nutrition for All project in Uganda and Zambia. Supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Co-operation (SDC) and in partnership with the Wageningen Centre for Development and Innovation (WCDI), SNV’s Sustainable Nutrition for All (SN4A) project aims to improve nutrition outcomes through the adoption of agro-biodiversity and improved dietary diversity and hygiene practices at intra-household level.

This technical paper first explores the food environment dimensions of availability, accessibility and affordability for Uganda and Zambia, using secondary (national level) data sources. After that, the paper focuses on project experiences in addressing the main challenges for each of these dimensions and concludes with a set of recommendations for Government and Development stakeholders.

This is the first of two papers. As the foods available in a given food environment are also shaped by consumer demand, the next paper in the SN4A series will focus on consumer demand and dietary practices. Although this paper focuses on data pre-COVID 19, SN4A is currently undertaking rapid assessments to monitor potential impact of the pandemic including- potential increases in acute malnutrition, risk perceptions associated with food, its availability and prices, labour and access to inputs.