Agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security in Ghana: Does farm production diversity (still) matter for household dietary diversity?
This article (PDF) in the Food Policy Journal examines the linkage between farm production diversity and household dietary diversity in rural Ghana and how that linkage changed between 2005–06 and 2012–13. Ghana managed to utilize rapid economic growth for poverty reduction and improving food and nutrition security. Transformation of agriculture appears to have played an important role in this context. However, the linkages between agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security at the household level are not well understood. The empirical analysis employs a regression model that controls for region- and time-fixed effects. The estimation results suggest that farm production diversification, as well as household income growth, continues to be strongly associated with increased household dietary diversity. This production-consumption linkage rests mainly on the direct effect of own-consumption of produced foods. The indirect income effect was larger in 2005–06 than in 2012–13. Further, the results confirm that market failures that prevent farmers from separating farm production and household consumption decisions are persistent in rural Ghana. Recent agricultural transformation seems to have not yet markedly improved integration of rural food and agricultural markets into the wider economy. Given that farmers tend to prioritize satisfying their families’ food requirements over maximizing profits, agricultural commercialization can be expected to progress at a slow pace. These findings have important policy implications. Agricultural policy continues to critically influence food and nutrition security beyond the standard parameters of farm income and productivity. Agricultural interventions therefore must carefully consider the less-obvious adverse outcomes in addition to the intended beneficial outcomes, and set incentives that are conducive to both agricultural transformation and food and nutrition security goals. A value chain development approach also has great potential for rural, off-farm job creation in agro-processing and accelerating structural change.
A related blog about the article can be found here.