Seeds of Change: The Power of Fruits and Vegetables to Improve Nutrition in Tanzania


Malnutrition has the potential to bankrupt countries and prevent children from reaching their full potential. Fruits and vegetables are critical components of sustainable and healthy diets globally and have recently gained attention as a smallholder farmer income resource in low- and lower-middle-income countries. Despite growing awareness of the positive role fruits and vegetables play in diets, consumption remains low globally. Tanzania is undergoing a food system change in farming, processing, and retail, especially in urban areas, as the country strives toward lowering stunting, micronutrient deficiencies, and overweight and obesity. Not only do fruits and vegetables present an opportunity to diversify diets and improve nutrition, they also provide labor opportunities, ignite entrepreneurship, and generate income for smallholder farmers.

This report, by Amy R. Beaudreault, examined the imperative role of fruits and vegetables in combating malnutrition. The research questions focused on the barriers to consumption, current strategies to increase consumption by U.S. and Dutch foreign aid projects and a local initiative, and opportunities for multisectoral and public-private engagement approaches. The fieldwork encompassed four projects—in three diverse Tanzanian regions—with budgets ranging from $25,000 to $20.2 million. Recommendations included creating demand, broadening implementation, scaling up an integrated multisectoral approach, and accelerating public–private engagement.

This report was made possible by the generous support of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.