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Evaluating the pathways from small-scale irrigation to dietary diversity: evidence from Ethiopia and Tanzania

Author

Listed:
  • Simone Passarelli

    (Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Department of Nutrition)

  • Dawit Mekonnen

    (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))

  • Elizabeth Bryan

    (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))

  • Claudia Ringler

    (International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI))

Abstract

Interventions that aim to increase water availability for agriculture hold great potential for improving nutrition through increasing food production, generating income, enhancing water access and sanitation and hygiene conditions, and through strengthening women’s empowerment. Yet there is scarce evidence on the linkages between small-scale irrigation and the pathways through which nutrition outcomes can be achieved. Using data from a cross-sectional household survey collected in Ethiopia and Tanzania, we explored the potential for small-scale irrigation to contribute to improved diets, and identify the pathways through which irrigation affects dietary diversity as measured by the Household Dietary Diversity Score. Unadjusted comparisons show that irrigating households in both countries produced more vegetables, fruits and cash crops, are less food insecure, have a higher value of production, and have higher production diversity and dietary diversity compared to non-irrigating households. Econometric results of a simultaneous equation (3SLS) model showed that irrigation leads to better household dietary diversity mainly through the pathway of increasing household incomes. However, these results are statistically significant only in the case of Ethiopia, and not in Tanzania. While irrigation increased production diversity in Ethiopia, the benefits of increased dietary diversity cannot be attributed to these changes in production after controlling for the effect of income. Other factors, such as gender of the household head and having off-farm income, also influence dietary diversity in Ethiopia. These findings suggest that the potential for irrigation to influence diets is highly context-specific. Understanding the particular pathways and entry points for nutrition-sensitive agriculture approaches could help to improve their benefits for nutrition.

Suggested Citation

  • Simone Passarelli & Dawit Mekonnen & Elizabeth Bryan & Claudia Ringler, 2018. "Evaluating the pathways from small-scale irrigation to dietary diversity: evidence from Ethiopia and Tanzania," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 10(4), pages 981-997, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:10:y:2018:i:4:d:10.1007_s12571-018-0812-5
    DOI: 10.1007/s12571-018-0812-5
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    4. Alessandro De Pinto & Greg Seymour & Elizabeth Bryan & Prapti Bhandari, 2020. "Women’s empowerment and farmland allocations in Bangladesh: evidence of a possible pathway to crop diversification," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 163(2), pages 1025-1043, November.
    5. Kedir T. Roba & Thomas P. O’Connor & Nora M. O’Brien & Chanyalew S. Aweke & Zenebe A. Kahsay & Nick Chisholm & Edward Lahiff, 2019. "Seasonal variations in household food insecurity and dietary diversity and their association with maternal and child nutritional status in rural Ethiopia," Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, Springer;The International Society for Plant Pathology, vol. 11(3), pages 651-664, June.
    6. Aloyce R. Kaliba & Anne G. Gongwe & Kizito Mazvimavi & Ashagre Yigletu, 2021. "Impact of Adopting Improved Seeds on Access to Broader Food Groups Among Small-Scale Sorghum Producers in Tanzania," SAGE Open, , vol. 11(1), pages 21582440209, January.
    7. Srijna Jha & Harald Kaechele & Marcos Lana & T.S Amjath-Babu & Stefan Sieber, 2020. "Exploring Farmers’ Perceptions of Agricultural Technologies: A Case Study from Tanzania," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(3), pages 1-21, January.
    8. Clément, Matthieu & Levasseur, Pierre & Seetahul, Suneha & Piaser, Lucie, 2021. "Does inequality have a silver lining? Municipal income inequality and obesity in Mexico," Social Science & Medicine, Elsevier, vol. 272(C).
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    10. Lefore, N. & Giordano, Meredith & Ringler, C. & Barron, J., "undated". "Sustainable and equitable growth in farmer-led irrigation in Sub-Saharan Africa: what will it take?," Papers published in Journals (Open Access) H049101, International Water Management Institute.

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