Farm Production Diversity and Dietary Diversity in Developing Countries

Type Conference Paper - WAEA Joint Annual Meeting, July 26-28, San Francisco, California
Title Farm Production Diversity and Dietary Diversity in Developing Countries
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Enhancing the diversity of agricultural production systems is increasingly recognized as a potential
means to sustainably provide diversified food for rural communities in developing countries, hence
ensuring their nutritional security. However, empirical evidences connecting farm production
diversity and farm-households’ dietary diversity are scarce. Using comprehensive datasets of
market-oriented smallholder farm households from Indonesia and Kenya, and subsistence farmers
from Ethiopia and Malawi, the present study is carried out with an objective to investigate the effect
of farm production diversity on households’ dietary diversity, and the role of market access and
other potential influencing factors. Often, farmers from the market-oriented production systems are
found consuming more diversified diet than those from the subsistence systems. Even among the
subsistence farms, the crucial role of farm diversity to augment dietary diversity is mixed and
evident only among those who have limited access to food markets. While farm diversity enhances
dietary diversity of Indonesian and Malawian households either through direct consumption,
and/or by increasing and stabilizing farm income - which is also dependent on the type of crop on
the farm. In Kenya and Ethiopia however no meaningful connection could be found. The study
concludes that the link between farm production diversity and dietary diversity does not universally
exist and diversifying diets through farm diversification need not require that the production system
should be subsistence in nature.

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