Date of Completion
Honors College Thesis
Community Development Applied Economics
Crop Diversity, Dietary Diversity, Food Security, Sub-Saharan Africa, Nutritional Outcomes, Market Access
Despite a robust literature base that has explored links between household crop diversity and children’s dietary diversity, evidence continues to yield mixed results regarding the significance and efficacy of crop diversity to improve childhood dietary outcomes. Given wide variance in the association between agrobiodiversity and dietary diversity across contexts, identifying factors that influence the direction and significance of the relationship can help inform targeted and appropriate development policies and interventions to maximize beneficial impact on livelihoods. Household characteristics such as wealth and distance to markets may provide important insight into the linkages between crop diversity and dietary diversity, given that low-resource households are often more reliant on localized production (including their own) for nutritional needs as compared to wealthier households with the resources to purchase more diverse foods from markets. This study examines the associations between crop diversity and dietary diversity among farm households at different levels of wealth in 10 sub-Saharan African countries. Drawing on the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)-Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) system, we show that the significance and direction of the association between crop diversity (as proxied by the Simpsons Diversity Index (SDI)) and children’s dietary diversity (as measured by the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS)) varies by wealth quintile across all study countries. We find that the significance and direction of the relationship between crop diversity and dietary diversity depends on the socioeconomic status of a household: in richer households, crop diversity has a negative effect on dietary diversity and in poorer households, there is no significant effect. Further, findings demonstrate the importance of considering contextual factors, such as wealth and distance to markets, in assessing how the presence of crop diversity may improve nutritional outcomes. This study indicates the need to better understand the factors that impact the relationship between agricultural diversity and dietary diversity in order to inform agricultural development strategies.
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Curtin, Isabel J.; Tobin, Daniel; and Reynolds, Travis, "Do Wealth and Market Access Explain Inconsistent Relationships Between Crop Diversity and Dietary Diversity? Evidence from 10 Sub-Saharan African Countries" (2023). UVM Honors College Senior Theses. 554.