Limitations of inclusive agribusinesses in contributing to food and nutrition security in a smallholder community: A case of mango initiative in Makueni county, Kenya
This paper (PDF) in the Sustainability journal explores the potential food and nutrition security contribution of inclusive agribusinesses in Makueni county, Kenya. Inclusive agribusinesses have been championed as a key strategy to address local constraints that limit smallholders’ participation in regional and global value chains, thereby enhancing their livelihood, and food and nutrition security, accordingly. Mango farming is the primary source of livelihood in the region, but market access for the produce is a major challenge, leading to heavy post-harvest losses and, ultimately, income losses. The setting up of an “inclusive” fruit processing and marketing business, presents a critical opportunity to improve smallholders’ incomes, and ultimately local food and nutrition security. Although all the smallholder farmers in the community share similar needs that the business set out to address, participation is not inclusive of all smallholders in the community. The results show that participation in the inclusive agribusiness favors smallholder households with relatively higher production capacity in terms of better physical capital (land and number of mango trees, financial capital), access to loans, and human capital (age, education, and family size). Following income improvement, the participants’ household food security situation is significantly better than for non-participants. However, participation does not improve household dietary diversity, implying that improvement in income does not necessarily lead to better household nutrition security. To address the limitations of inclusive agribusiness, the authors propose policymakers and development actors to critically explore the contextual background prior to intervention design and implementation, and accordingly devise a broader approach for more inclusivity of the very poor and marginalized, and better food and nutrition security outcomes as a result. Given that not every smallholder could benefit from inclusive agribusiness for their food needs due to resource scarcity, alternative livelihood supports, including social protection programs and safety net plans, should be considered.