Crop Production Diversity and the Well-being of Smallholder Farm Households: Evidence from Nigeria


May 14, 2024 - Ibukun James Olaoye, Sarah Edore Edewor, Tarana Chauhan and David Stifel


This paper explores the implications of farmers choosing to diversify their crop production rather than to specialize in one crop on household welfare. Specifically, we estimate the association between household crop production diversity (CD) and household welfare outcomes. To better understand the farmers’ production decisions, we also explore the influence that market access and rainfall shocks may have on CD practices. Using fixed-effects models applied to nationally representative panel data for 2010, 2012 and 2015 from the Nigerian Living Standard Measurement Survey, we find that CD is positive and significantly associated with improved household welfare outcomes for households situated father away from markets but the association is not significant for children anthropometric well-being. While a positive association between CD and farm income exist, we find that smallholder households uptake CD due to limited market access, and the exposure to positive and negative rainfall shocks. Our findings contribute to understanding farm household production and consumption behavior and are relevant for policy responses towards reinforcing smallholders’ capacity to cope with and adapt to shocks. It can also serve as a guide in prioritizing development efforts to stimulate relevant and well-informed policy and interventions.



Crop diversification, climate shocks, market access, household well-being, panel regression, Nigeria.


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