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Journal Article

Agricultural Commercialization and Nutrition Revisited : Empirical Evidence from Three African Countries


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Africa | Sub-Saharan Africa | Malawi | Tanzania | Uganda
2018-01-12T20:56:07Z | 2018-01-12T20:56:07Z | 2017-02

The transition from subsistence to commercial agriculture is key for economic growth. But what are the consequences for nutritional outcomes? The evidence to date has been scant and inconclusive. This study contributes to the debate by revisiting two prevailing wisdoms: (a) market participation by African smallholders remains low; and (b) the impact of commercialization on nutritional outcomes is generally positive. Using nationally representative data from three African countries, the analysis reveals high levels of commercialization by even the poorest and smallest landholders, with rates of market participation as high as 90%. Female farmers participate less, but tend to sell larger shares of their production, conditional on participation. Second, we find little evidence of a positive relationship between commercialization and nutritional status. As countries and international agencies prioritize the importance of nutrition-sensitive agriculture, better understanding of the transmission channels between crop choices and nutritional outcomes should remain a research priority.


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