Farm diversification and food and nutrition security in Bangladesh: empirical evidence from nationally representative household panel data uri icon

abstract

  • Existing literature suggests that farm production diversification has the potential to influence the diet diversity of farmers, but that the magnitude of the association is likely to vary by context and the underlying causal mechanisms are not well understood. This study analyzed the nexus between farm diversification and diet diversity using two round of nationally representative panel data from the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS), collected in 2011/12 and 2015. We used several indicators of dietary diversity including the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDS), Women's Dietary Diversity Score (WDDS), and the Food Variety Score (FVS). To measure farm diversification we used the total number of crop, vegetable and fruit species, the number of food crop species only, and the Margalef species richness index. We found robust evidence for a positive association between farm diversification and diet diversity, even when controlling for unobserved heterogeneity across households using the conditional fixed effect Poisson model in order to take advantage of the panel structure of the data. The magnitude of the estimated effect was small. Analysis of other factors indicates that market access, commercialization of farms, diversification of income towards off farm sources and women's empowerment also have positive and significant effects on household dietary diversity. These findings suggest that it may be necessary to couple efforts to increase farm diversity, market access, farm commercialization and income diversification with women's empowerment in order to improve dietary diversity in Bangladesh. Further research is needed to better understand these complex relationships including their ultimate associations with nutritional status.

publication date

  • 2018
  • 2018