Agriculture-Nutrition Linkages in the Kenyan Small Farm Sector: The Role of Commercialization, Technology Adoption, and Extension
von Sylvester Ochieng Ogutu
Datum der mündl. Prüfung:2018-05-08
Betreuer:Prof. Dr. Matin Qaim
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Meike Wollni
Gutachter:Prof. Dr. Ludwig Theuvsen
EnglischGlobal hunger, malnutrition, and poverty have declined over the past decades, but a situation of food and nutrition security for all is yet to be achieved, and extreme poverty is still widespread. Around 800 million people globally are still chronically undernourished, about 2 billion people suffer from micronutrient deficiencies which pose serious health consequences, and 767 million people live in extreme poverty – below 1.90 US dollars a day. Hence, eradication of hunger, malnutrition, and extreme poverty continue to rank high on the development policy agenda. A large proportion of the people affected are smallholder farmers in developing countries who depend on agriculture as a source of food and income. Therefore, a key question for improving nutrition is how to make smallholder agriculture more nutrition-sensitive. Previous studies proposed the use of agricultural technologies specifically designed to improve nutrition (e.g. biofortified crop technologies), higher on-farm diversification, and strengthening of smallholder access to markets as part of key strategies to improve nutrition in the small farm sector. These strategies could also reduce poverty in farm households, for instance, through increased labor and land productivity, and cash income gains from market sales. This dissertation contributes to the emerging research on agriculture-nutrition linkages, particularly addressing three research gaps. The first research gap relates to the adoption of biofortified crops and other pro-nutrition innovations. One particular challenge with the adoption of biofortified technologies is a low incentive among farmers to adopt such technologies due to limited awareness of their nutritional benefits. Agricultural extension could play a crucial role in creating the required awareness to enhance adoption. However, previous research on how to improve extension services primarily focused on the dissemination of technologies with potential agronomic benefits, not on pro-nutrition technologies. The second research gap relates to the link between agricultural commercialization and nutrition. While it is often assumed that subsistence production is particularly important for smallholder diets, effects of agricultural commercialization on household nutrition and dietary quality have hardly been analyzed. The third research gap relates to wider welfare effects of agricultural commercialization. Previous studies evaluated the impacts of commercialization on smallholder income and poverty, but potential effects on other livelihood dimensions and multidimensional poverty are much less understood. These research gaps are addressed with primary data collected from approximately 800 smallholder farm households in Western Kenya and the use of various econometric and experimental techniques. This dissertation comprises three essays that contribute to the literature on agriculture and nutrition linkages in different ways. In the first essay, we conduct a randomized controlled trial (RCT) to evaluate the effects of new agricultural extension designs on the adoption of a pro-nutrition technology. In particular, we examine how agricultural training can be combined with training in nutrition and marketing to increase farmers’ adoption of a new bean variety biofortified with iron and zinc. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first study to analyze how improved designs of agricultural extension can contribute to making smallholder farming more nutrition-sensitive. This analysis is based on panel data from two survey rounds. Difference-in-difference estimates show that intensive agricultural training tailored to local conditions can increase technology adoption considerably. In less than one year, adoption of biofortified beans increased from almost zero to more than 20%. With additional nutrition training, adoption further increased by 10-12 percentage points, since this helped farmers to better appreciate the technology’s nutritional benefits. These results suggest that effective nutrition training through agricultural extension services is possible. Providing additional marketing training did not lead to further adoption effects, possibly because the study period may have been too short to measure these effects properly. Based on the results we argue that closer cooperation between agricultural extension and nutrition and health organizations can be an effective way to promote pro-nutrition innovations among smallholder farm households. In the second essay, we evaluate the effects of commercialization on household food security and dietary quality, with a particular focus on calorie and micronutrient consumption. The few previous studies on the effects of commercialization on nutrition examined impacts in terms of calorie intake and child anthropometrics, but not dietary quality as we do. We further depart from previous studies by estimating average and continuous treatment effects, and also examine possible transmission channels through which commercialization affects farm household nutrition by looking at the role of income, gender, and possible substitution between the consumption of own-produced (subsistence) and purchased foods. This analysis builds on cross-sectional survey data from 805 farm households. We use a control function approach to address potential endogeneity problems. Generalized propensity scores are employed to estimate continuous treatment effects. The results show that commercialization significantly improves food security and dietary quality measured in terms of calorie, zinc, and iron consumption. For vitamin A, overall effects are statistically insignificant. Commercialization contributes to higher incomes and additional nutrient intake from purchased foods, but it does not reduce the consumption of nutrients from own-produced foods, even after controlling for farm size, possibly due to higher productivity on more commercialized farms. We conclude that enhancing market access is important not only for rural economic growth, but also for making smallholder agriculture more nutrition-sensitive. In the third essay, we examine the impacts of commercialization on multidimensional poverty. Previous studies examined the effects of commercialization on poverty with income-based poverty indicators, but income-poverty indicators are prone to measurement error and do not capture the many dimensions of poverty (welfare), such as education, health, and living standard. We use cross-sectional data from a sample of 805 farm households and various econometric models to measure average and heterogeneous treatment effects of commercialization on multidimensional poverty. A 10 percentage point increase in the degree of commercialization reduces the likelihood of being multidimensionally poor by 2.3 percentage points and the multidimensional poverty index (intensity) – share of total deprivations in years of schooling, child school attendance, calorie consumption, dietary quality, sanitation, access to safe drinking water, electricity, cooking fuel, floor material and asset ownership – by 1.5 percentage points. Quantile regressions show that commercialization significantly reduces multidimensional poverty across the different quantiles. Commercialization also reduces income poverty. The absolute gains in per capita income are larger for richer households. We conclude that commercialization can contribute to multidimensional and income poverty reduction in smallholder farm households, but may possibly also lead to higher income inequality. We draw several conclusions and policy implications from the three essays in this dissertation. From the first essay, we conclude that combining agricultural and nutrition training in agricultural extension approaches is feasible, and can contribute to making smallholder farming more nutrition-sensitive. Therefore, closer cooperation between agricultural extension and nutrition and health organizations could provide a cost-effective way to promote pro-nutrition innovations in the small farm sector. However, further research is needed on how the design of agricultural extension approaches can be improved in order to increase the adoption of pro-nutrition technologies. Our study is only an initial step in this direction. From the second essay, we conclude that commercialization can contribute significantly to improved nutrition in the small farm sector. The important policy implication is that enhancing market access is a key strategy to make smallholder agriculture more nutrition-sensitive. But we stress that commercialization alone will not suffice to address all types of malnutrition. Commercialization increases cash income, but the consumption of certain micronutrients – such as vitamin A – does not seem to be particularly responsive to income growth. Hence, more specific complementary interventions may be needed. From the third essay, we conclude that commercialization contributes to multidimensional poverty reduction in the small farm sector. Hence, smallholder access to markets should be strengthened. Further research is needed to quantify the long-term effects of commercialization on multidimensional poverty and to provide more evidence in different contexts.
Keywords: Nutrition-sensitive Agriculture; Commercialization; Technology Adoption; Extension; Kenya