Farm production diversity and its association with dietary diversity among smallholder farmers in Kisii and Nyamira Counties, Kenya
Muthini, Davis, N
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Undernutrition and micronutrient malnutrition affect close to one billion people globally. Interventions such as biofortification, farm production diversity, and market linkages target to exploit farming and marketing systems to reduce undernutrition. The impact of consumption of biofortified crops on nutrition has been studied extensively. However, the impact of awareness of varieties and knowledge of nutrition qualities of biofortified crops on adoption is not well understood. Similarly, whereas a direct link between farm production diversity and household dietary diversity is well established in literature, a similar link has not been sufficiently established for women and children. The effect of increasing production diversity on dietary diversity was found to be small in many of the previous studies, which could be explained by the partial effect of diets sourced from the market. There are no studies in literature that have expressly differentiated diets by sources, that is, subsistence and market pathways. This study evaluates the effect of farm production diversity and food sourcing pathways on diet diversity using panel data collected from 808 respondents selected through multistage sampling in Kisii and Nyamira Counties, Kenya. The two counties were selected based on the prevailing high malnutrition rates in the face of thriving agriculture. Data were analyzed through descriptive and inferential statistical methods using Stata 14 software. The results from the study have been presented in the form of three papers that are discussed hereafter. The first paper evaluates the impact of variety awareness and nutrition knowledge on the adoption of KK15 bean variety which contains high levels of zinc and iron. The Average Treatment Effect (ATE) framework was applied to control for variety awareness and knowledge of variety nutrition attributes among respondents. The results show that farmers who had knowledge of the nutrition attributes of KK15 beans were more likely to adopt the variety. The potential adoption loss due to lack of knowledge of the nutritional benefits was 8 percent. Adoption of biofortified crops can therefore be enhanced if information on the nutrition characteristics of the varieties is widely disseminated in the population. The second paper applies the Poisson model to evaluate the association between farm production diversity and diet diversity at household and individual levels. The study findings indicate that farm production diversity is significantly associated with the diet diversity of women and that of the entire household, but not with the diet diversity of children. Animal species diversity has the highest magnitude of association with dietary diversity in this study. Every additional animal species kept leads to a 0.33 and 0.13 increase in household dietary diversity and the dietary diversity of women respectively. Children’s diet diversity is associated with household size and education of the mother. The study highlights the need to incorporate individual dietary requirements in policy and nutrition interventions. The third paper also applies the Poisson model to examine the effect of different food sourcing pathways on the household’s and individual’s diet diversity. In particular, the analysis focusses on the dietary diversity from subsistence and the market. The findings show that farm production diversity is positively associated with dietary diversity obtained from subsistence, but negatively associated with dietary diversity obtained from the market. The results underscore the important role of markets for the diets of smallholder farmers, even in subsistence-oriented settings, possibly because they are not able to produce enough food from their small farms. Thus, while farm diversification is an important step towards nutrition, improving market access for smallholders may deliver more benefits.
University of Nairobi
SubjectFarm production diversity and its association with dietary diversity among smallholder farmers in Kisii and Nyamira Counties, Kenya
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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