Tackling diet challenges in Tanzania: The FRESH end-to-end approach

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In Tanzania, a complex nutritional paradox unfolds. While nearly one in three children under five are undernourished, overweight and obesity are also rising. A contributing factor to this challenge is a lack of fruit and vegetables (F&V) in diets.  

Micronutrients obtained from F&V are essential for overall health. However, low F&V intake remains a concern worldwide. In Tanzania, recent Demographic and Health Survey data revealed critical dietary gaps in F&V consumption. Addressing this issue will require coordinated efforts and targeted interventions.   

FRESH: a multifaceted approach 

The CGIAR Research Initiative on Fruit and Vegetables for Sustainable Healthy Diets (FRESH) is taking an end-to-end approach to increase F&V consumption and transform diets in Tanzania. By focusing on various points of the food system, FRESH is: 

  • Improving vegetable biodiversity, seed systems, and sustainable farming practices to boost F&V availability. 
  • Enhancing infrastructure and distribution channels to make F&V more accessible. 
  • Exploring ways to make F&V more affordable for consumers. 
  • Influencing consumer preferences and behaviors through interventions to increase demand for F&Vs. 

Measuring FRESH’s impact 

To understand how the end-to-end approach works in Tanzania, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) is conducting a holistic evaluation comprising an impact evaluation and a food environment assessment. Taking place in 33 villages in Northern Tanzania, the study aims to track changes in F&V intake and vegetable production, measure the impact of FRESH interventions, and characterize the food environment and its relationship with F&V intake. 

Evidence generated from this study will guide the development of future programs and policies related to diets, nutrition, and food systems. FRESH’s work aligns with Tanzania’s National Multisectoral Nutrition Action Plan and Second Agricultural Sector Development Programme (ASDP-II), which aim to reduce malnutrition, increase agricultural production and income for smallholder farmers, and guarantee food security for all Tanzanians. 

Shaping the future of food systems 

With similar challenges echoing across the world, the FRESH end-to-end approach provides a good example of addressing diet and nutrition issues across the entire food system. Outcomes can inspire intervention strategies in other countries struggling with low F&V intake and its associated health burdens. 

FRESH’s work in Tanzania is not just about F&V; it’s about empowering communities, transforming food systems, and ultimately, securing sustainable healthy diets for all. 

 

Read the Brief

 

Cover photo: Women working in a crop field in Tanzania. IFPRI/M. Maher

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. 

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