Introducing New Technologies And Marketing Strategies For Households With Malnutrition: An Ethiopian Case Study
Many developing regions have excellent potential agricultural resources. However, historically population has become so concentrated on such small holdings that acute poverty and malnutrition now predominate. The food scientists’ response to the chronic nutritional problem has often been subsidized bio-fortification with nutritional supplements or more recently cultivars with higher nutrient levels. Where much of the population is in this inadequate nutrition category as in highland Ethiopia, the supplements are neither financially feasible nor sustainable. The cultivars can provide a few critical nutrients but are not a comprehensive solution. To improve nutrition, it is necessary to increase income so that an increased quality and quantitative diet can be obtained. Here we evaluate a strategy to introduce new agricultural technologies where a central aspect of evaluation is combining the nutritional and income goals. This analysis is undertaken in the Qobo valley, Amhara state, Ethiopia. Using behavioralist criteria for decision making defined by the farmers, the effects of different potential combinations of technologies and supporting agricultural policies on the household nutritional gaps and farmers’ incomes are analyzed. An integrated approach involving the combined technologies of water harvesting, fertilization and Striga resistance combined with improved credit programs has the potential to increase income by 31% and to eliminate malnutrition except in the most adverse state of nature (10% probability). Both the treatment of the nutritional deficits and the decision making criteria defined by farmers are expected to be useful techniques in other developing country technology and policy analysis as well.
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