Keynote to the Panel Discussion: Does Diversified Agricultural Production Automatically Lead to Improved Nutrition?
University of Goettingen, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Germany
Undernutrition, low dietary diversity, and micronutrient deficiencies remain big problems in many developing countries. A large proportion of the people affected are smallholder farmers. Against this background, it is often assumed, that further diversifying small-farm production could be a good strategy to improve dietary diversity and nutrition. But is there really such a clear link between production diversity on the farm and dietary diversity in the farm household? In this overview, key factors that can influence this relationship are discussed, including issues of measurement. Empirical evidence from various developing countries is presented. Farm production diversity is positively associated with dietary diversity in some situations, but not in all. Especially when production diversity is already high, the association is not significant, or it can even turn negative when diverse production entails lower cash incomes due to foregone benefits from specialisation. Markets seem to be more important for dietary diversity than subsistence production.
Keywords: Dietary diversity, nutrition, production diversity
Contact Address: Matin Qaim, University of Goettingen, Dept. of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Platz der Göttinger Sieben 5, 37073 Göttingen, Germany, e-mail: mqaimuni-goettingen.de