Food Markets and Nutrition
Saturday, Jan. 5, 2019 12:30 PM - 2:15 PM
- Chair: Derek Headey, IFPRI
Dairy markets and child nutrition in the developing world
AbstractDairy is an exceptionally nutrient-dense food of immense importance to healthy growth in early childhood. However, dairy consumption among young children is strikingly low in many parts of Africa and Asia. This paper attempts to explain this puzzle, focusing on the obvious roles of income/wealth and prices, and the less well understood roles of lactose intolerance, cattle ownership, nutritional knowledge, water quality, and refrigeration. We find evidence suggesting that all of these factors might account for differences in dairy consumption across countries,although the disparity in dairy prices between low and high consumption countries is particularly large and puzzling, given the tradability and relative affordability of powdered milk. We therefore develop a novel trade analysis to understand why dairy prices are so high, especially relative to staple cereals, and illustrate how comparative (dis)advantage in dairy is often poorly aligned with pricing policies. We conclude the paper by highlighting unresolved research questions in this complex puzzle, including the need to learn from countries that have been able to drastically improve dairy consumption, including those with little tradition of dairy consumption such as Thailand and Vietnam.
Rural food markets and child nutrition
AbstractChild dietary diversity is poor in much of rural Africa and developing Asia, prompting significant efforts to leverage agriculture to improve diets. However, growing recognition that even very poor rural households rely on markets to satisfy their demand for nutrient-rich non-staple foods warrants a much better understanding of how rural markets vary in their diversity, competitiveness, frequency and food affordability, and how such characteristics are associated with diets. This paper addresses these questions using data from rural Ethiopia. Deploying a novel market survey in conjunction with an information-rich household survey, we find that children in proximity to markets that sell more non-staple food groups have more diverse diets. However, the association is small in absolute terms; moving from three non-staple food groups in the market to six is associated with an increase the number of non-staple food groups consumed by ~0.24 and the likelihood of consumption of any non-staple food group by 12 percentage points. These associations are similar in magnitude to those describing the relationship between dietary diversity and household production diversity; moreover, for some products, notably dairy, we find that household and community production diversity is especially important. These modest associations may reflect several specific features of our sample which is situated in very poor, food-insecure localities where even the relatively better off are poor in absolute terms and where, by international standards, prices for non-staple foods are very high.
Eggs before Chickens: Poultry, Poverty and Nutrition in sub-Saharan Africa
AbstractIn the late 1990s a ‘livestock revolution’ literature documented rapid increases in the consumption and production of animal-sourced foods (ASFs) in transition economies, particularly poultry meat. In Africa, however, ASF consumption growth has been heavily driven by imports, suggesting a missed opportunity to promote domestic agricultural growth and rural poverty reduction. Moreover, a recent focus on nutrition-sensitive agriculture’ has catalyzed a growing interest in eggs, which are exceptionally rich in multiple nutrients and highly efficacious in reducing stunting. Yet being largely non-tradable, eggs are typically very expensive in Africa due to low productivity in the layer sector and high feed costs. These issues raise important but thus far unanswered questions surrounding agricultural development strategies in Africa. Should African countries pursue infant-industry policies to reduce their dependence on poultry meat imports, or should they instead focus on improving productivity in the domestic layer sector by addressing high feed costs? And would efforts to improve productivity in the layer sector yield any economic or nutritional benefit for the rural poor, or is agricultural commercialization inevitably urban biased? In this paper we assess these complex issues, first by documenting the more trade-dependent nature of Africa’s livestock revolution and its root causes, before turning to an economywide simulation analysis of Ghana. We show that protecting the poultry sector does more harm than good, whereas an ambitious focus on maize productivity renders the layer sector more competitive and improves the affordability of eggs and other ASFs, though more so for urban than rural populations.
University of Oxford
- I1 - Health