Does sustainable intensification of maize production enhance child nutrition? Evidence from rural Tanzania

Food insecurity, child malnutrition, and land degradation remain persistent problems in sub-Saharan Africa. Agricultural sustainable intensification (SI) has been proposed as a possible solution to simultaneously address these challenges. Yet there is little empirical evidence on if SI do indeed improve child nutrition. To begin to fill this gap, we use Tanzania National Panel Survey data to analyze the child nutrition effects of rural households adoption of farming practices that contribute to the SI of maize production. We group households into four categories based on their use of three soil fertility management practices on maize plots: Non-adoption ; Intensification (use of inorganic fertilizer); Sustainable (use of organic fertilizer, maize-legume intercropping, or both); and SI (joint use of inorganic fertilizer with organic fertilizer and/or maize-legume intercropping). The full-sample results from multinomial endogenous treatment effects models suggest that adoption of all three categories improves children s height-for-age z-score (HAZ) relative to Non-adoption , while only the SI category enhances children s weight-for-age z-score (WAZ). Since children are largely breastfed until age 2, we re-estimate the models using children age 25-59 months, which suggests that adoption of Sustainable and SI categories increases HAZ by 0.44 and 0.38 units, respectively, and WAZ by 0.29 and 0.52 units, respectively. Acknowledgement : This research was supported by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) through funding to the Feed the Future Innovation Labs for Collaborative Research on Sustainable Intensification and Food Security Policy, and the USAID Mission to Tanzania. The authors wish to thank Neema Kassim, Jean-Claude Rubyogo, and Felicia Wu for helpful input on this research.

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JEL Codes:
O33; Q12

 Record created 2018-10-02, last modified 2021-01-22

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