From farm to fork: Improving nutrition in the Caribbean

The challenge

Obesity rates are on the rise in the Caribbean. This is due in large part to the limited attention Caribbean countries have paid to local food production. They have relied instead on economic development through exports of plantation crops. As a result, there is a high dependence on imports of high calorie, low nutrition foods. This has created a paradox of obesity and poor nutrition, which threatens population health throughout the region.

The research

This project, supported by IDRC and GAC through the Canadian International Food Security Research Fund (CIFSRF), uses a “farm to fork” focus to improve food production and nutrition and health outcomes in Guyana, Saint Lucia, St. Kitts and Nevis, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Researchers will assist farmers in increasing food production through agricultural diversification, conservation of water, and efficient use of land. Nutrition education and the introduction of nutritious foods will decrease caloric intake and improve nutrition and health outcomes. New policies will be developed to secure food supply in the region through improved marketing structures.

Expected outcomes

  • Improved nutrition, particularly among women and children, leading to reduced rates of chronic, non-communicable diseases
  • Agricultural diversification, leading to year-round supply of locally produced food products, based on improved soil and water conservation and efficient land use
  • Adoption of policies to secure food supply through improved marketing structures
  • Change in consumer behaviour to increase consumption of a diversified diet of fruits and vegetables
  • Expanded regional capacity (human and institutional) to solve problems of food insecurity

Project ID

106525

Project status

Closed

Start Date

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

End Date

Friday, August 1, 2014

Duration

42 months

IDRC Officer

Annie Wesley

Total funding

CA$ 5,000,000

Country(s)

Guyana, Caribbean, West Indies

Institution

International Development Research Centre

Institution Website

http://www.idrc.ca

Project Leader

Dr. Leroy Phillip

Institution

Royal Institution for the Advancement of Learning/McGill University

Institution Website

http://www.mcgill.ca

Project Leader

Dr. Isabella Francis-Granderson

Institution

University of the West Indies

Institution Website

http://www.uwi.tt