At the dawn of the 21st century, differences among regions and countries in nutrition security are still big. Even in regions where the total amount of food seems to be sufficient, many households face difficulties in achieving a diversified diet that providing all necessary macro-, micronutrients, and health-promoting bioactive substances.Besides global malnutrition, micro-nutrient deficiencies are typical manifestations. At the same time, caloric over-nutrition causes diseases preventable through higher intake of fruits and vegetables providing the bioactive plant substances. East Africa shows relatively high prevalence rates of malnutrition and faces a high need for diversified diets.

Our goal is to discover to what extend and how a more diverse farm-ing contributes to diverse diets and nutrition security. We hypothesise that improvements in farming systems based on ecologically oriented farming has an impact on food diversity and nutrition availability. Expected outputs are a comparison of nutrition security and dietary diver-sity among resource poor households as well as a comparison of agro-biodiversity and choice of crops at target sites in Kenya and Uganda, classified as currently following monocul-ture survival strategies. Further outputs will be tested innovations in the farming system to in-crease food options by offering sustainable cropping alternatives including agro-forestry miti-gating soil degradation.

There are several multipliers and vicious cycles to be identified along routines in farming ending in a new concept. This concept will be introduced by a collection of indicators and underlying factors. Diversified nutrition will be included by hidden variables depicting nutrient and health concerns of households. The concept of diversified diets we use implies:

  1. healthy nutritional statuses, achieved through intake of various foods from different sources provided by diversified farming and purchased from off-farm income;
  2. use of di-verse crops to prepare meals serving nutrition needs based on a diversified crop production;
  3. use of healthy crops offering full ranges of nutrients;
  4. adapted preparation techniques of food and meals for a healthy diet.

The work packages (WP) 1 and 2 focus on nutrition looking at status and change of vulnerable groups, institutional set-ups in households, gender relation-ships, mechanism of achieving change needs, farming diversity as related to institutions, and local knowledge on nutrition values.. In as much as vegetables and fruit trees have been part of the traditional system will be investigated in WP3, looking at organic matter turn-overs and impact of land use on soil degradation. With respect to finding a translation mechanism be-tween dietary and agricultural diversity, findings are put into a communication framework (WP4). Finally, the research aims at contributing to capacity building on knowledge exchange on status of nutrient provision and maintenance of health between consumption and production units using a trans-disciplinary approach in which crop scientist, agronomists and nutrition ex-perts work together with farmers, households and retailers.

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