Our Expertise and Services: Food and Nutrition

Helvetas works with women and men at all levels in the food supply chain, but especially at the local level. Our aim is to ensure healthy and sustainable diets for everyone through more resource-efficient, climate-resilient, inclusive and socially just food systems.  

Balancing regional and local food systems

Ensuring food and nutrition security in our partner countries requires collaboration between different sectors and amongst the numerous different actors in the food system. Whether at the local or regional level, this requires a sound understanding of the overall system, strategic planning and targeted interventions. Helvetas works to promote well-functioning food systems that also meet the nutritional needs of the poorest and most marginalized people. In an increasingly unstable world, we support resilient and sustainable solutions.  

What we do

Helvetas works in partnership with government bodies, the private sector and civil society actors to strengthen food systems in a constructive, equitable manner. Through our partners we support sustainable and nutrition-sensitive agriculture practices, appropriate technical and financial services, access to markets, and advocate for policies that increase the availability, accessibility and affordability of nutritious and healthy diets. Where and when humanitarian crises arise in our partner countries, we also intervene to ensure adequate food and nutrition for those affected.

© Fatoumata Diabate
Korotimi Kamaté attends a three-month course in vegetable growing as part of our youth and agriculture project in southern Mali. © Fatoumata Diabate
© Helvetas
The acquired knowledge is immediately put into practice. Under the supervision of the teacher, the students prepare a bed. © Helvetas
© Helvetas
Korotimi has already set up her own vegetable garden and sells the harvest - like these chilis - on the market, but wants to expand the planting area. © Helvetas

What we offer

  • A systemic approach to food and nutrition through targeted interventions from farm to fork. We analyze drivers in the food system and determine actions that will improve food and nutrition security and have a positive environmental and socio-economic impact. We especially aim to improve the dietary quality for vulnerable groups, notably women and children, the urban poor, and remote mountain communities.
  • Holistic approaches that consider the needs of consumers and service providers and contribute to a positive policy environment (Push-Pull-Policy). This includes skills training for improved incomes, governance in rural and urban areas, resilience to climate change, and awareness raising and education.
  • Support for agricultural advisory services that are sustainable, profitable and resource-efficient, while at the same time being sensitive to dietary quality
  • Nutrition-sensitive and productive agro-ecosystems that are climate-resilient and contribute to biodiversity conservation
  • Inclusive, gender-responsive or gender-transformative innovations in agriculture that are attractive for young people and build skills within local support organizations and service providers. This includes context-specific mechanization and modernization (agriculture 4.0), optimized land use, appropriate knowhow and inputs for fully sustainable production.
  • Postharvest management and continued engagement in initiatives that reduce losses and waste in food systems – thus enhancing food availability, food quality and safety, and reducing the ecological footprint.
  • Multi-stakeholder partnerships, including with the private sector, for responsible investments in food systems and ethical sourcing (e.g., label for eco-friendly production and/or fair trade)

Contact our team

Our multilingual advisory team offers wide-ranging thematic expertise and has in-depth experience in navigating complex processes. Helvetas’ work builds on over 60 years of experience in more than 30 countries.

Advisor Nutrition Sensitive Agriculture and Food Systems
Senior Advisor Sustainable Agriculture / Organic Farming
© Helvetas / Maurice K. Grünig
Senior Advisor Value Chains & Sustainable Commodities
Deputy Country Director Bangladesh
Associate Senior Advisor, Agribusiness and Rural Entrepreneurship

Selected food and nutrition projects

Helvetas develops and guides the implementation of projects. To be sustainable, they must be locally embedded. We support our partners in effectively organizing projects and processes and assist local authorities to better assume their responsibilities.

WASH & Water Governance

The most vulnerable communities suffer from dirty and scarce water. Annually we help up to 500,000 people get new access to drinking water and basic sanitation.

Gender & Social Equity

Helvetas makes sure that our work actively and meaningfully includes and supports the most disadvantaged groups.

Climate & Disaster Resilience

Every year, we support over 1,000,000 people in adapting to climate change, reducing the risks of disasters, sustainably managing natural resources, and conserving nature.