Improving Diets and Incomes of Rural Populations in Mountain Regions


This project facilitates and promotes micro-initiatives for nutrition sensitive agriculture, processing and marketing practices on local and national levels. It advocates and shares knowledge on global level.

  • Project Name
    Nutrition in Mountain Agro-ecosystems (NMA)
  • Project Phase
    2015 to 2021
  • Funding
    This mandate is funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation
  • Thematic focus
    Private Sector Development
    Learning & Innovation

Activities in five mountain ranges

The Nutrition in Mountain Agro-ecosystems (NMA) Project is funded under the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation's (SDC) Global Program Food Security for a period of six years. The goal of NMA is to improve diets and incomes of rural populations in mountain regions based on nutrition sensitive agricultural practices. The project operates in the following eight countries Nepal, Pakistan, India, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Ethiopia, Peru and Ecuador. These countries are located in five mountain ranges such as the Himalaya, Hindukush, Pamir-Tian Shan, East-African Highlands and the Andes.

The International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM) is leading a consortium consisting of Helvetas, the Research Institute of Organic Agriculture (FiBL) and local partners in project countries. Helvetas advisory services support country offices of Nepal, Pakistan and Tajikistan which implement the project components in these countries.

© Agro Expo Fair "Silk Road" 2013 -2
© Agro Expo Fair "Silk Road" 2013 -2
© Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas
© Helvetas

Up-scaling successful practices for nutrition sensitive agriculture

The project started in 2015 and focuses on three components:

  • Promoting small local initiatives of rural service providers for nutrition sensitive agriculture, processing and marketing practices, e.g. vegetable gardening in small greenhouses, promotion of solar drying technologies for fruits, or nutrition awareness building and fostering of balanced diets in schools. In phase one, 130 micro-interventions were implemented.
  • Fostering national environments and policies in the target countries that are conducive for nutrition sensitive agriculture, e.g. by promoting successful and potential micro-interventions among decision makers and political influencers.
  • Advocating for nutrition sensitive agriculture at the global level to promote agro-ecology-based diversification as a feasible approach to improve nutrition in mountain areas internationally.

In its current second phase, the project builds on previous experiences. A main aim is to replicate and up-scale the most successful nutrition sensitive agriculture practices tested during the first phase. Through a competitive call, the project invites local partners from the eight project countries to submit proposals for Scaling-Up Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture Initiatives (SUNSAI). The most innovative project ideas will be selected and co-funded by the NMA project.

Knowledge sharing through global networking

To facilitate experience sharing and learning between national stakeholders on the one hand and among a broader global community on the other hand, NMA created the Mountain Agro-Ecosystem Action Network (MAAN). It is a network of practitioners who exchange face-to-face and virtually about their nutrition sensitive agriculture innovations and approaches, their stories and insights. As one tool, the project developed a MAAN website with country sub-sites in local language.

© Helvetas / Narendra Shrestha

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