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Biofortification, crop adoption and health information: Impact pathways in Mozambique and Uganda


  • Brauw, Alan de
  • Eozenou, Patrick
  • Gilligan, Daniel O.
  • Hotz, Christine
  • Kumar, Neha
  • Meenakshi, J.V.


Biofortification, breeding staple food crops to be dense sources of essential micronutrients, is fast emerging as a strategy to fight micronutrient malnutrition. Large scale biofortification investments are being made in several developing countries, but until recently little rigorous evidence about the impact of these investments has been available. In this paper, we report findings from randomized impact evaluations conducted in both Mozambique and Uganda to study the impact of large-scale pilot projects conducted between 2006 and 2009 to introduce provitamin-A-rich orange-fleshed sweet potato (OFSP) as a strategy to reduce vitamin A deficiency. In both countries, projects randomly assigned interventions of different cost and intensity to distribute OFSP vines, train households to grow OFSP, and disseminate the health benefits of vitamin A. We compare the impact of the interventions within and across the two countries on OFSP adoption, knowledge about vitamin A, and dietary intake of vitamin A by children, and use causal mediation analysis (Imai et al. 2011) to examine the impact pathways on vitamin A consumption. After two years of intervention, in both countries the project led to OFSP adoption rates of 61-68 percent among project households, improved household knowledge about vitamin A, and nearly doubled average dietary intake of vitamin A, with no difference between the more and less intense intervention models. Evidence suggests that vine access played the most important role in explaining the impact on vitamin A consumption in both countries. Consequently, future programs can be designed to have similar impacts at even lower costs

Suggested Citation

  • Brauw, Alan de & Eozenou, Patrick & Gilligan, Daniel O. & Hotz, Christine & Kumar, Neha & Meenakshi, J.V., 2013. "Biofortification, crop adoption and health information: Impact pathways in Mozambique and Uganda," 2013 Annual Meeting, August 4-6, 2013, Washington, D.C. 150514, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
  • Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea13:150514

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Harold Alderman & John Hoddinott & Bill Kinsey, 2006. "Long term consequences of early childhood malnutrition," Oxford Economic Papers, Oxford University Press, vol. 58(3), pages 450-474, July.
    2. James J. Heckman & Jeffrey A. Smith, 2004. "The Determinants of Participation in a Social Program: Evidence from a Prototypical Job Training Program," Journal of Labor Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 22(2), pages 243-298, April.
    3. McKenzie, David, 2012. "Beyond baseline and follow-up: The case for more T in experiments," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 99(2), pages 210-221.
    4. Chiappori, Pierre-Andre & Haddad, Lawrence & Hoddinott, John & Kanbur, Ravi, 1993. "Unitary versus collective models of the household : time to shift theburden of proof?," Policy Research Working Paper Series 1217, The World Bank.
    5. Abdul T. A. Naico & Jayson L. Lusk, 2010. "The Value of a Nutritionally Enhanced Staple Crop: Results from a Choice Experiment Conducted with Orange-fleshed Sweet Potatoes in Mozambique," Journal of African Economies, Centre for the Study of African Economies (CSAE), vol. 19(4), pages 536-558, August.
    6. James J. Heckman & Hidehiko Ichimura & Petra E. Todd, 1997. "Matching As An Econometric Evaluation Estimator: Evidence from Evaluating a Job Training Programme," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 64(4), pages 605-654.
    7. repec:cup:apsrev:v:105:y:2011:i:04:p:765-789_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    8. Meenakshi, J.V. & Johnson, Nancy L. & Manyong, Victor M. & DeGroote, Hugo & Javelosa, Josyline & Yanggen, David R. & Naher, Firdousi & Gonzalez, Carolina & García, James & Meng, Erika, 2010. "How Cost-Effective is Biofortification in Combating Micronutrient Malnutrition? An Ex ante Assessment," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 38(1), pages 64-75, January.
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    Cited by:

    1. Etumnu, Chinonso, 2016. "Behavioral Determinants of Biofortified Food Acceptance: The Case of Orange-fleshed Sweet Potato in Ghana," 2016 Annual Meeting, July 31-August 2, 2016, Boston, Massachusetts 235249, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    2. Gilligan, Daniel O. & Kumar, Neha & McNiven, Scott & Meenakshi, J.V. & Quisumbing, Agnes R., 2012. "Bargaining-Power and Biofortification: The Role of Gender in Adoption of Orange Sweet Potato in Uganda," 2012 Annual Meeting, August 12-14, 2012, Seattle, Washington 125017, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association.
    3. Jones, Kelly M. & de Brauw, Alan, 2015. "Using Agriculture to Improve Child Health: Promoting Orange Sweet Potatoes Reduces Diarrhea," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 74(C), pages 15-24.
    4. Maruyama, Eduardo & Unnevehr, Laurian J. & Wang, Jiarui, 2014. "Understanding the context for agriculture for nutrition research: Identifying country typologies of child-stunting determinants:," IFPRI discussion papers 1362, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Gelli, Aulo & Hawkes, Corinna & Donovan, Jason & Harris, Jody & Allen, Summer L. & de Brauw, Alan & Henson, Spencer & Johnson, Nancy L. & Garrett, James & Ryckembusch, David, 2015. "Value chains and nutrition: A framework to support the identification, design, and evaluation of interventions:," IFPRI discussion papers 1413, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Berber Kramer, 2017. "Cooking Contests for Healthier Recipes: Impacts on Nutrition Knowledge and Behaviors in Bangladesh," Working Papers id:11943, eSocialSciences.

    More about this item


    Biofortification; Impact Evaluation; Randomized Control Trial; Technology Adoption; Program Evaluation; Program Design; Agricultural and Food Policy; Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety; Food Security and Poverty; Health Economics and Policy; International Development; Productivity Analysis; O1; Q1;

    JEL classification:

    • O1 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development
    • Q1 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture

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