Does crop diversity contribute to dietary diversity? Evidence from integration of vegetables into maize‑based farming systems

This study measured the effect of crop diversification on household dietary diversity in farm households in 10 villages in Tanzania

Abstract

This study measured the effect of crop diversification on household dietary diversity in a selected study locale using a survey of 300 randomly stratified farm households in 10 villages located in the Babati, Kongwa and Kiteto districts of Tanzania. Based on multiple regression analysis, the study found that simply increasing Simpson’s Index does not influence dietary diversity of farm households due to the presence of interaction effect between Simpson’s Index and crop income. It is much more critical and significant to increase the revenue generated from diversified crops along with other socioeconomic endowment and behavioral characteristics of farm households. This is particularly applicable to poorer smallholder farmers who receive crop income less than US$85 per sales transaction and per season. Under average crop income scenarios, households that diversify their crop production tend to increase their dietary diversity from their existing dietary diversity score at a decreasing rate. However, under below average crop income threshold scenarios, farmers tend to increase their dietary diversity score from their existing score at an increasing rate when they diversify into high-value crops that attract relatively high farm gate values and accrue higher net revenues from the market.

This study concludes that improving economic access to variety of foods at the smallholder household level by diversifying diets through increased crop diversification should be encouraged within maize-based farming systems of the study locale, through integration of micronutrient-rich foods such as vegetables.

This article is the result of funding from the World Vegetable Center. The World Vegetable Center is partly funded by the UK Department for International Development

Citation

Srinivasulu, R.; Afari-Sefa, V.; Shee, A.; Bocher, T.; Bekunda, M.; Inviolate dominick; Lukumay, P.J. 2017. Does crop diversity contribute to dietary diversity? Evidence from integration of vegetables into maize-based farming systems. Agriculture and Food Security. 6:50.

Does crop diversity contribute to dietary diversity? Evidence from integration of vegetables into maize‑based farming systems

Published 1 December 2017