Good nutrition and sustainable food security depend on three cornerstones: increasing the availability of healthy foods, expanding household purchasing power, and broadening nutritional knowledge. Agriculture and nutrition are inextricably linked. Fintrac integrates each component into our agricultural interventions – from introducing new high-value crops to incorporating nutritional training into postharvest technical assistance. Diversified and increased production improves the health of rural families not only by providing a higher-quality diet, but also by generating profits from surplus.
Fintrac understands that the key to successfully improving household nutrition is women’s involvement. Recognizing that a $10 increase in a woman’s income achieves the same improvements in children’s health and nutrition as $110 increase in a man’s income, we tailor activities and trainings to ensure women are participating in and benefitting from all program activities.
Increasing Availability of Healthy Foods
Fintrac staff are implementing innovative practices that turn back the tide of malnutrition. Through home gardens, small-scale livestock production, and crop diversification, we give farmers the ability to meet their nutritional needs and ensure healthy foods are readily available in local markets. Our cutting-edge production techniques are continually evolving to increase yields of nutrient rich crops including vegetables, fruits, and grains.
In Cambodia, Fintrac introduced houshold gardens to increase production of healthy foods such as leafy greens. We trained more than 10,000 households in climate adaptation practices suitable for small plots; on average they increased productivity by 170 percent and incomes by 150 percent over four years.
In Honduras, Fintrac increased the availability of nutritious foods for thousands of households, especially those at high risk for malnutrition, by establishing family plots. Crops such as sweet potato, cassava, carrots, and beets ensure the availability of nutritious foods year round.
Expanding Household Purchasing Power
With increased incomes, families are able to buy healthy foods that are often more expensive than traditional staple crops. Through the adoption of good agricultural practices, farmers increase both yields and sales. After seeing the impact of Fintrac-promoted practices firsthand – and feeling it in their pockets – our clients are more likely to trust our advice in other areas, particularly health and nutrition trainings and recommendations.
In Tanzania, Fintrac introduced high-value crops such as tomatoes and orange flesh sweet potato that have the added benefit of being high in vitamins and minerals. Farm families saw average income increases of 188 percent per hectare – money they invested in more diverse diets, household improvements, and education. Work in high-value crops will continue under Fintrac's newly awarded Tanzania project.
Broadening Nutritional Knowledge
Fintrac trains all members of the household in best nutritional practices, including enhancing staple foods such as tortillas with leafy greens, teaching proper breastfeeding techniques, and monitoring ideal caloric intake. We monitor childhood growth and help parents understand the best types of foods to combat malnutrition in young children. We work with students to build their own school gardens. To extend our reach, we train local volunteers in basic nutrition concepts, empowering them to conduct training in their own communities.