Does crop diversity at the village level influence child nutrition security? Evidence from 11 sub-Saharan African countries
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.
KeywordsAgrobiodiversity Crop diversity Dietary diversity Childhood stunting Agriculture and nutrition
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.
- Berti, P. R., & Jones, A. D. (2013). Biodiversity’s contribution to dietary diversity: magnitude, meaning and measurement. In Diversifying food and diets: using agricultural biodiversity to improve nutrition and health (pp. 186–206). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Boyle, E. H., King, M, & Sobek, M. (2018). IPUMS-demographic and health surveys: version 5 [dataset]. IPUMS and ICF International, 2018. https://doi.org/10.18128/D080.V5.
- Brush, S. B. (2000). The issues of in situ conservation of crop genetic resources. In Genes in the field: on-farm conservation of crop diversity (pp. 3–26). Rome: International Plant Genetics Resources Institute.Google Scholar
- DHS. (2018a). What we do: methodology. The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, United States Agency for International Development. https://dhsprogram.com/What-We-Do/methodology.cfm. Accessed 19 Oct 2019.
- DHS. (2018b). Nutrition of children and adults. Guide to DHS statistics-7. The Demographic and Health Surveys Program, United States Agency for International Development. https://dhsprogram.com/Data/Guide-to-DHS-Statistics/index.cfm.Accessed 19 Oct 2019.
- Ekesa, B. N., Walingo, M. K., & Abukutsa-Onyango, M. O. (2008). Influence of agricultural biodiversity on dietary diversity of preschool children in Matungu Division, Western Kenya. African Journal of Food Agriculture Nutrition and Development, 8(4), 390–404.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2004). Building on gender, agrobiodiversity and local knowledge. Rome: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2010). Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity. Rome: United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.Google Scholar
- FAO, IFAD, UNICEF, WFP, & WHO. (2019). The state of food security and nutrition in the world 2019: safeguarding against economic slowdowns and downturns. Rome: FAO.Google Scholar
- Hoddinott, J. (2012). Agriculture, health, and nutrition: toward conceptualizing the linkages. In Reshaping agriculture for nutrition and health (pp. 13–20). Washington, DC: IFPRI.Google Scholar
- IFAD. (2016). Rural development report 2016. Rome: IFAD.Google Scholar
- IFPRI. (2016). Global nutrition report 2016: from promise to impact: ending malnutrition by 2030. Washington, DC: IFPRI.Google Scholar
- IPUMS-DHS. (2018). Using IPUMS-DHS contextual variables. Integrated public use microdata series, Demographic and Health Surveys Program. https://www.idhsdata.org/idhs/contextual_variables_overview.shtml. Accessed 20 Oct 2019.
- Jones, A. D., Creed-Kanshiro, H., Zimmerer, K. S., de Haan, S., Carrasco, M., Meza, K., Cruz-Garcia, G. S., Tello, M., Amaya, F., Marin, R. M., & Ganoza, L. (2018). Farm-level agricultural biodiversity in the Peruvian Andes is associated with greater odds of women achieving a minimally diverse and micronutrient adequate diet. The Journal of Nutrition, 148, 1625–1637.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Khoury, C. K., Bjorkman, A. D., Dempewof, H., Ramirez-Villegas, J., Guarino, L., Jarvis, A., Riesenberg, L. H., & Struik, P. C. (2014). Increasing homogeneity in global food supplies and the implications for food security. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 111(11), 4001–4006.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- M’Kaibi, F. K., Steyn, N. P., Ochola, S. A., & Du Plessis, L. (2017). The relationship between agricultural biodiversity, dietary diversity, household food security, and stunting of children in rural Kenya. Food Science & Nutrition, 5(2), 243–254.Google Scholar
- Mayala, B., Fish, T.D., Eitelberg, D., & Dontamsetti, T. (2018). The DHS program geospatial.Google Scholar
- Morris, S. S. (1999). Measuring nutritional dimensions of household food security. Technical guide #5. Washington, D.C.: International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).Google Scholar
- NAS. (2007). Contributions of land remote sensing for decisions about food security and human health: workshop report. Workshop Report, National Academy of Sciences. Washington, D.C.: The National Academies Press.Google Scholar
- Nelson, A. (2008). Estimated travel time to the nearest city of 50,000 or more people in year 2000. Data set, Joint Research Centre, European Commission. http://forobs.jrc.ec.europa.eu/products/gam/. Accessed 19 Oct 2019.
- OECD/FAO. (2016). Agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa: prospects and challenges for the next decade. In OECD-FAO Agricultural Outlook (pp. 2016–2025). Paris: OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
- Oksanen, J., Blanchet, F. G., Friendly, M., Kindt, R., Legendre, P., & McGlinn, P. R., et al. (2018). Vegan: community ecology package. R package version 2.5-2. Available at: https://CRAN.R-project.org/package=vegan.
- Oyarzun, P. J., Borja, R. M., Sherwood, S., & Parra, V. (2013). Making sense of agrobiodiversity, diet, and intensification of smallholder family farming in the highland Andes of Ecuador. Ecology of Food and Nutrition, 52(6), 515–541.Google Scholar
- Swindale, A., & Bilinsky, P. (2006). Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS) measurement of household food access: indicator guide, version 2. FANTA III Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance. Washington, DC: USAID.Google Scholar
- USDA. (2018). USDA food composition databases. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/. Accessed 19 Oct 2019.
- WHO. (2007). Protein and amino acid requirements in human nutrition. In WHO technical report series 935. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
- WHO. (2008). Indicators for assessing infant and young child feeding practices: part 1: definitions. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar
- WHO & UNICEF. (2009). WHO child growth standards and the identification of severe acute malnutrition in infants and children. In Joint Statement by the World Health Organization and the United Nations Children’s Fund. Geneva: World Health Organization.Google Scholar