In light of this, CGIAR initiated a research program—Agriculture for Nutrition and Health (A4NH)—to ensure that successes in agriculture translate into better human nutrition and health. Improved agricultural innovations that boost the productivity and diversity of agricultural production can affect health directly (by influencing the diets of subsistence-oriented households) and indirectly (by enhancing the food purchasing power of commercial-oriented households). Since the majority of food-insecure and malnourished people in sub-Saharan Africa are smallholder farmers, on-farm diversification has the potential to improve dietary diversity, an outcome that has been found elsewhere to be positively correlated with the nutritional status of individuals.
Establishing a causal link between farm diversity and dietary diversity is challenging due to potential simultaneity between production and consumption decisions and confounding factors that could affect both outcomes.
This Africa RISING evidence brief presents findings from a study that investigated the quasi-exogenous increase in on-farm diversity among Africa RISING beneficiary households in Malawi to examine the link between production and dietary diversity.