Can smallholder fruit and vegetable production systems improve household food security and nutritional status of women? Evidence from rural Uganda
This paper by Nassul Kabunga, Shibani Ghosh and Jeffrey K. Griffiths, aims to empirically infer potential causal linkages between fruit and vegetable (F&V) production, individual F&V intake, household food security, and anemia levels for individual women caregivers of childbearing age. Using a unique and rich dataset collected from rural smallholder Ugandan households, the authors show that the use of a qualitative tool to measure household food insecurity is robust and applicable in other contexts. They also show, using robust econometric methods, that women living in F&V-producer households have a significantly higher intake of F&Vs than those living in nonproducer households. Furthermore, F&V-producer households are potentially more food secure, and women caregivers in producer households have significantly higher levels of hemoglobin, rendering the prevalence rates of anemia lower among F&V-producer households. It is argued that these effects, modest as they are, could be further improved if there were deliberate efforts to promote the intensification of smallholder F&V production.