Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA)
nutrition security for women farmers

Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA)

Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA)

Much of India’s rural population suffers from malnutrition due to micronutrient deficiencies. The problem of malnutrition in India is not just about having enough food, but also having the right types of food and linkages with sanitation, women’s status, health and healthcare.

India’s rates of childhood stunting and wasting as well as anaemia in both women and children are among the highest in the world. Such trends signal the country’s urgent need to refocus agricultural policy to address contemporary nutritional challenges.

In 2015, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded the Tata-Cornell Institute for Agriculture and Nutrition (TCI) a consortium-based programme called the Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA). Led by TCI, the consortium includes research partners like Cornell University, Emory University, the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), and Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and technical partners like CARE India, BAIF Development Research Foundation, Grameen Development Services (GDS), and Tata Trusts.

Collectively, the consortium aims to promote a more diversified food system that enhances the availability and affordability of nutrient-rich foods for India’s rural population and create a sustainable platform to mitigate malnutrition.

  Our Approach

CARE India is implementing this project with around 10,000 women farmers from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe households, in 72 villages across five blocks in two districts – Kandhamal and Kalahandi, Odisha.

Traditionally, Indian agriculture has focussed on increasing production and productivity of staples such as paddy and wheat. Concerted efforts to promote non-staples and protein, vitamin and mineral rich crops such as pulses, legumes, tubers, vegetables and animal products are potential solutions for addressing the lack of essential micro-nutrients in daily diet.

The objective of this project is to provide technical assistance to make agricultural projects nutrition sensitive; provide an evidence driven pathway to policy reforms that promote availability and affordability of a more nutritious food system; and build capacity and leadership to institutionalise nutrition-sensitive agriculture in India. Nine different models of nutrition-layered agriculture are being piloted under the leadership of women smallholders and their collectives.

Our work

Through the TARINA platform, we have been developing field validated models to achieve food and nutrition security for our project participants. Working through Self-help Groups (SHGs) and Farmer Field Schools as learning platforms, the project team is capacitating the women members to use their knowledge, productive resources, markets and value addition opportunities to improve their food system, including cropping practices and animals rearing.

Nine different models for layering of nutrition on agriculture are being tested under the project. To improve food availability through crop diversification, the project is working with 1,854 leading women farmers to improve pulse cultivation and consumption. These women will in turn act as change makers in their SHGs and village communities by influencing and demonstrating nutrition sensitive agriculture in their communities.

The broad areas of agriculture interventions implemented under this project include:

  • Introduction and promotion of legume/pulse production
  • Nutrition education awareness building and behaviour change
  • Increase in goat productivity through improved animal husbandry, feed management and linkages to value chains
  • Systems for intensification of homestead/kitchen gardens
  • Women’s empowerment through gender-based dialogue, awareness building and behaviour change
  • Provision of storage technologies for reducing post-harvest losses

Our Innovations

Technical Assistance and Research for Indian Nutrition and Agriculture (TARINA)

  • 01
    9500+

    small and marginal women farmers, organised into 244 SHGs and 60 Farmer Field Schools meet weekly to learn best practices, improve productivity by sharing responsibilities and get an opportunity to participate in policy implementation and uptake

  • 02
    970+

    women farmers have been provided inputs and capacitated on for kitchen garden cultivation

  • 03
    60

    SHG leaders capacitated to take lead and engage and influence the community on nutritionsensitive agricultural practices

  • 04
    59

    Nutrition Gender Toolkit sessions were organized to capacitate 922 women participants on understanding age specific nutrition requirement

  • 05
    550

    farmers from 25 villages trained under the project set up multi-seasonal kitchen gardens

  • 06
    450

    smallholder farmers have diversified staple grain cropping systems by adding vegetables, pulses or legumes for increasing consumption of nutritious food

The programme is well-poised for being scaled up to more than two million women smallholders who will benefit from activities that address structural barriers, influence policy agendas, and improve agriculture extension systems.

Odisha