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Agricultural commercialization and nutrition revisited: Empirical evidence from three African countries

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ABSTRACT

The transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture is key for economic growth. But what are the consequences for nutritional outcomes? The evidence to date has been scant and inconclusive. This study contributes to the debate by revisiting two prevailing wisdoms: (a) market participation by African smallholders remains low; and (b) the impact of commercialization on nutritional outcomes is generally positive. Using nationally representative data from three African countries, the analysis reveals high levels of commercialization by even the poorest and smallest landholders, with rates of market participation as high as 90%. Female farmers participate less, but tend to sell larger shares of their production, conditional on participation. Second, we find little evidence of a positive relationship between commercialization and nutritional status. As countries and international agencies prioritize the importance of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, better understanding of the transmission channels between crop choices and nutritional outcomes should remain a research priority.

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Agricultural commercialization and nutrition: pooled sample.
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f0010: Agricultural commercialization and nutrition: pooled sample.

Mentions: Table 5 suggests high levels of malnutrition in all countries, with an incidence of stunting among children under five years old of about 42% in Tanzania, compared to 36% in Uganda and 31% in Malawi. Similarly, the share of children wasted amounts to 6.2, 3.2 and 3.6% in Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi respectively. In terms of average caloric consumption, Tanzania exhibits average per capita caloric consumption of 2044 kilocalories, compared with 2536 in Malawi and 2243 in Uganda. Across countries, there is no clear relationship between the nutritional outcomes and the degree of commercialization (as proxied by the CCI quintiles) and the different nutritional indicators, with the exception of stunting in Tanzania. Similarly, no clear trends emerge when the degree of agricultural commercialization is correlated with children’s anthropometrics as measured through Z-scores (see Graph 2).


Agricultural commercialization and nutrition revisited: Empirical evidence from three African countries
Agricultural commercialization and nutrition: pooled sample.
© Copyright Policy - CC BY
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5384450&req=5

f0010: Agricultural commercialization and nutrition: pooled sample.
Mentions: Table 5 suggests high levels of malnutrition in all countries, with an incidence of stunting among children under five years old of about 42% in Tanzania, compared to 36% in Uganda and 31% in Malawi. Similarly, the share of children wasted amounts to 6.2, 3.2 and 3.6% in Tanzania, Uganda and Malawi respectively. In terms of average caloric consumption, Tanzania exhibits average per capita caloric consumption of 2044 kilocalories, compared with 2536 in Malawi and 2243 in Uganda. Across countries, there is no clear relationship between the nutritional outcomes and the degree of commercialization (as proxied by the CCI quintiles) and the different nutritional indicators, with the exception of stunting in Tanzania. Similarly, no clear trends emerge when the degree of agricultural commercialization is correlated with children’s anthropometrics as measured through Z-scores (see Graph 2).

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

The transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture is key for economic growth. But what are the consequences for nutritional outcomes? The evidence to date has been scant and inconclusive. This study contributes to the debate by revisiting two prevailing wisdoms: (a) market participation by African smallholders remains low; and (b) the impact of commercialization on nutritional outcomes is generally positive. Using nationally representative data from three African countries, the analysis reveals high levels of commercialization by even the poorest and smallest landholders, with rates of market participation as high as 90%. Female farmers participate less, but tend to sell larger shares of their production, conditional on participation. Second, we find little evidence of a positive relationship between commercialization and nutritional status. As countries and international agencies prioritize the importance of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, better understanding of the transmission channels between crop choices and nutritional outcomes should remain a research priority.

No MeSH data available.