The study of the Linkages between Child Nutrition and Agricultural Growth (LICNAG) seeks to understand the positive and negative repercussions that agricultural-led growth has on children's health and nutritional status. The project's goal is to identify means of strengthening positive linkages between agricultural development and factors that influence child health and nutritional status. To accomplish this, we conducted a study (May 2001 - April 2002) of 750 rural households located in three agricultural systems: an irrigated rice zone in the Office du Niger of the Ségou Region, a rain-fed cotton zone in the Sikasso Region, and a traditional millet and sorghum zone in the Mopti Region. This paper reports the results of preliminary analysis using the first six months of survey data. In comparing the irrigated rice zones to other zones, LICNAG results show that (1) per capita income for the parents of children less than four years old is significantly higher than in other zones, (2) women have greater access to and control over income, and (3) rates of wasting and stunting are significantly lower. In the cotton zones income is concentrated in the hands of the heads of large extended families and women have little access to personal income. Reducing the concentration of income and increasing women's income are key challenges in this zone. In the coarse grain production systems of the Mopti Region, adults as well as children are not getting enough to eat. Increasing access to food and income requires measures to reduce price and climatic risk (e.g., water management and transport infrastructure, and diversification of incomes). Households in these regions depend heavily on off-farm income to meet their food needs, particularly remittances from both men and women working as laborers in the Office du Niger irrigated rice zone. As Mali moves forward in its efforts to expand irrigated perimeters in the Office du Niger, it will be important to encourage positive spillover effects from the irrigated rice sector that can contribute to improved food security for households in the neighboring Mopti Region.


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