Does crop diversity at the village level influence child nutrition security? Evidence from 11 sub-Saharan African countries

  • Daniel TobinEmail author
  • Kristal Jones
  • Brian C. Thiede
Original Paper


Diversifying crop production has been proposed as a means of reducing food and nutrition insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa, but previous empirical studies yield mixed results. Much of this evidence has focused at the household level, but there are plausible reasons to expect that the presence of crop diversity at other scales affects human health. Utilizing data from 11 sub-Saharan African countries housed in the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)-Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) system, this study assesses the association between village-level crop diversity and both dietary diversity and height-for-age among young children. Our findings indicate that, overall, village-level crop diversity contributes to higher dietary diversity and improved height-for-age and that functional diversity measures best account for nutritional outcomes. These findings provide an important basis for future research to explore the importance of crop diversity at scales beyond the household and to consider other contextual determinants of child health.


Agrobiodiversity Crop diversity Dietary diversity Childhood stunting Agriculture and nutrition 


Funding information

Jones received support from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (under funding received from the National Science Foundation DBI-1639145). Thiede received assistance provided by the Population Research Institute at Penn State University, which is supported by an infrastructure grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (P2CHD041025).

Compliance with ethical standards


No financial interest or benefits exist for us in the application of this research. Mistakes and omissions that may have been made are solely our responsibility.

Supplementary material

11111_2019_327_MOESM1_ESM.docx (29 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 28 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Community Development and Applied Economics, 101 Morrill HallUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  2. 2.National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)University of Maryland-College ParkAnnapolisUSA
  3. 3.Department of Agricultural Economics, Sociology, and EducationThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

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