Training the trainers on Nutrition-Sensitive Agriculture

By Marian Amaka Odenigbo
Extension workers from all the provinces in Mozambique came to receive training on nutrition-sensitive agriculture in Maputo. This is the first structured training on nutrition provided to agricultural extension workers in the National Directorate of Agricultural Extension Services (DNEA), Mozambique. Agriculture extension plays vital roles in agriculture development, rural transformation and in addressing the issues of food and nutrition security.

Happily, I participated in this event to provide technical support in the training sessions involving 16 extensionists. The event took place at the Agrarian Extension center in Marracuene district, Maputo Province on 13th June - 17th June 2016. This training was organized by PRONEA Support Project (PSP) and DNEA.
Group photo of the participants

PSP is one of IFAD-supported programmes in Mozambique which has a focus on improving household food and nutrition security of subsistence farmers. In the efforts of achieving nutrition outcomes, PSP engaged a nutrition focal point with the responsibilities to facilitate nutrition mainstreaming activities including training of extension workers on nutrition-sensitive agriculture. 

Seeing the enthusiasm and keen interest among the trainees, I felt so proud on the success of this training ably coordinated by the PSP-nutrition focal person, Francisco Jeronimo.  Jeronimo challenged the participants to take the lead on this nutrition mainstreaming initiative in agriculture and rural development since they are the first set of extension workers receiving the training.

Nutrition is gaining so much attention in the world including Mozambique. “Chronic malnutrition is the main problem facing our country and we all have to join efforts to overcome this issue” said Marcela Libombo, a staff of DNEA during her opening remarks. She further reiterated that the attention for agricultural sector is now on farmers, children’s under 2 years, women of reproductive age, teachers, school children as well as activities within farmers field school (FFS).

The training session was official declared open by the Director of DNEA, Sandra Silva. Silva welcomed this kind of training in extension services as timely in the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MASA).  She echoed that the creation of the MASA in 2015 was tasked with the duties and responsibilities for food security and good nutrition at National, Province and District levels. “I am pleased to announce that at national level, the DNEA will lead this initiative of Nutrition- Sensitive Agriculture” said Silva.

The training session

Focus of the training
• Enhanced nutrition knowledge to extension workers
• Communication skills to disseminate nutrition messages
• Technology transfer on food processing and storage

Expectation from participants
Participants were asked “what do you expect to acquire from this 5-day training?” They echoed the following;
• To transfer knowledge on how to process and cook nutritious diet to farmers
• To teach farmers the food that are nutrient dense
• To know when and what we should give to children, women and old people
• I hope to get more information to improve the food insecurity and malnutrition in my province

For diversity in the content of training, 7 facilitators from Technical Secretariat for Food Security and Nutrition, DNEA, FAO, IFAD and PROMER delivered presentations on different topics related to food and nutrition. PROMER- an IFAD-funded project in Mozambique shared the experiences of nutrition integration in the project interventions. Training sessions varied from presentations to working group sessions, field visits, evaluation and feedback.

Next step
The training event was concluded with the preparation of action plans by each province in order to conduct similar training at district levels.