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Micronutrient Production

Micronutrients, mainly vitamins and minerals, are nutrients that are required by the human body to carry out physiological functions (Burchi et al., 2011). There are 19 identified essential micronutrients that are critical for optimal immune system functioning, physical and mental development, and metabolic processes (Kennedy et al., 2007). A person may have adequate calories but may be lacking in essential nutrients (“hidden hunger”), and though the signs of these deficiencies are not visible, the long-term effects on health, physical and mental development, and productivity may be devastating (Burchi et al., 2011; Muthayya et al., 2013). Addressing such deficiencies through nutritional sensitive agriculture may be a key issue in providing nutrients to the targeted population. Micronutrient deficiencies may be context and population specific, but the most widespread micronutrient deficiencies addressed in past projects have been vitamin A, iron, and iodine (Allen, 2000). For example, vitamin A adequacy for infants (0-5 years) can reduce infections of malaria, measles, and diarrhea; and iron adequacy can reduce anemia, which affects more than 25% of the world’s population, in particular infants and women (WFP, 2015). This metric mainly examines the “potential” availability of nutrients to the producer from the crops or animal products produced.

How to operationalize the metric

Method of data collection and data needed to compute the method:

As indicated in the productivity domain and food security sections, data on crop and animal production plus nutrient composition tables are needed to calculate this metric. The latter provides an estimate of the micronutrients that are available in given crop or food product. The Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO, 2017) and some universities (HSPH, 2016) have developed composition tables for various foods some with additional country specific food composition tables. When not cost prohibitive, a more precise measure of particular nutrient composition may be done in the laboratory for a given technology.

Unit of analysis:

The unit of analysis is grams (g) of the micronutrients produced per hectare. Data on the micronutrients is provided as grams of micronutrient unit per 100 g for some but not all nutrients (FAO, 2017). In cases where composition is not as gams of micronutrients per 100 g, an appropriate conversion to grams should be made. For example, iodine is usually reported in micrograms (mcg) and iron in milligrams (mg) per 100 g of the product. Caution must be taken in converting these values to the appropriate grams per 100 g of product. Once the values are in micronutrients per 100 g of product, multiply the micronutrients per 100 g by the yield (kilograms per hectares from productivity domain) and then by 10 (to obtain the amount of micronutrients in a kilogram).

Limitations regarding estimating and interpreting:

This limitation is similar to metric 1. This indicator examines the potential availability of micronutrients for consumption and does not provide information on whether the product will or was consumed by the household. . In addition, nutrition assessment is complex and requires, among other things, measurement of consumption and bioavailability, i.e., proportion of the nutrient that is absorbed or metabolized by the body through normal functions (De pee and Bloem, 2007). Since these aspects are not observed, the indicator is a proxy of potential nutrient contribution and must be treated with caution.”

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