FRESH participates in 9th Joint Multisectoral Nutrition Review (JMNR) in Tanzania

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From October 25-26, 2023, the CGIAR Research Initiative on Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH) participated in a pivotal event in Arusha, Tanzania: the 9th Joint Multisectoral Nutrition Review (JMNR). 

The JMNR is an annual gathering that brings together stakeholders to assess the implementation of nutrition actions in Tanzania. With a focus on strengthening sustainable food systems to support nutrition and human capital development, the theme of this year’s JMNR aligned with FRESH’s mission to improve diet quality, nutrition, and health outcomes through increased fruit and vegetable intake. 

FRESH’s involvement in the JMNR was multifaceted. The Initiative engaged with other participants through presentations, discussions, and an exhibition. The JMNR was attended by influential figures including representatives from Government Ministries, Ministerial Departments and Agencies, non-state actors, research institutions, and the private sector.  

FRESH also provided financial support as an event sponsor. Wiston Mwombeki, FRESH Country Coordinator for Tanzania, and Professor Joyce Kinabo, FRESH Principal Investigator in Tanzania on End-to-End Evaluation, were instrumental in organizing FRESH’s efforts during the JMNR. 

Day 1 – Research presentations & technical reviews 

The first day of the JMNR included research presentations and technical reviews focused on re-examining Tanzania’s food systems. FRESH was selected as one of four oral presentations, allowing the Initiative to share its research findings with all meeting participants. Dorcas Amunga, Research Associate and Nutritionist at the International Potato Center (CIP), delivered a presentation on nutritional status, dietary intake and fruit and vegetable consumption among women and children in Tanzania. 

In addition to the oral presentation, FRESH researchers presented several posters during the event. The posters highlighted FRESH research related to the following topics: 

  • Scaling of improved African Traditional Vegetable varieties in seven regions in Tanzania, presented by Omary Mbwambo, Research Associate – Farm Operation, World Vegetable Center 
  • Application of integrated pest management techniques in sustainable production of safe vegetables in Tanzania, presented by Dr. Simon Boniface, Entomologist and Laboratory Manager, World Vegetable Center. 
  • How do food environments influence access to fruits and vegetables? Current research in Arusha and Kilimanjaro Regions, Tanzania, presented by Dr. Julia de Bruyn, Scientist – Healthy Diets, World Vegetable Center. 
  • Policy and political economy analysis: Fruits and vegetables in Tanzania, presented by Mario Sibamenya, Nutritionist and Head of Nutrition Section, Buhigwe District Council. 

    After the research session, participants had the opportunity to review progress on nutrition interventions as part of the 2021-2026 National Multisectoral Nutrition Action Plan (NMNAP-II), a strategic five-year initiative that aims to address nutritional needs in the country. The NMNAP-II’s second-year implementation emphasized the reduction of micronutrient deficiencies, undernutrition, and obesity. Calls were made to better align activities with the NMNAP-II, increase stakeholder engagement, and leverage technology for improved nutritional outcomes. A significant focus was placed on supporting context-specific research, like the FRESH Initiative.  

    Day 2 – Stakeholder engagement & policy discussions 

    On the second day of the JMNR, representatives from FRESH engaged with stakeholders and political figures during an exhibition. FRESH’s booth featured informational posters, vegetable seeds, and a display of fruits and vegetables. The booth was visited by the Prime Minister of Tanzania, Kassim Majaliwa Majaliwa, who commended FRESH’s efforts and encouraged further progress. 

    The Prime Minister discussed current challenges and advancements regarding nutrition policy in Tanzania. He emphasized that healthy, nutritional behaviors are essential for reducing the prevalence of non-communicable diseases. The Prime Minister requested continued efforts to support the production of nutritious commodities at the local level.   

    Future directions 

    The JMNR was a notable opportunity for FRESH to showcase its work, contribute to influential discussions, and gain insights from Tanzanian leaders in health and nutrition. The event underscored the role of fruit and vegetable consumption in achieving Tanzania’s nutrition goals, laying a strong foundation for FRESH’s ongoing endeavors. 

    FRESH’s participation in the JMNR reflects the Initiative’s growing visibility in the national nutrition dialogue. Looking to the future, FRESH aims to bring new evidence and recommendations to next year’s JMNR, continuing the momentum toward sustainable healthy diets in Tanzania.   

     

     

    The FRESH Initiative is being implemented by CGIAR researchers from IFPRI, CIMMYT, the Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT, IWMI, and CIP in close partnership with the World Vegetable Center, Applied Horticultural Research, the University of Sydney, the Institute of Development Studies, Wageningen University & Research, the University of California, Davis, Borlaug Institute of South Asia, Sokoine University of Agriculture, Wayamba University of Sri Lanka and the Philippines Department of Science and Technology-Food and Nutrition Research Institute, along with other partners.  

    We would like to thank all funders who support this research through their contributions to the CGIAR Trust Fund: www.cgiar.org/funders  

    Cover image: Representatives from FRESH at the 9th Joint Multisectoral Nutrition Review on October 25-26, 2023, in Arusha, Tanzania. Photo provided by the Tanzania Food and Nutrition Centre. 

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