Does sustainable intensification of maize production enhance child nutrition? Evidence from rural Tanzania: Peer Reviewed Publication

October 9, 2019 - Author: Jongwoo Kim, Nicole M. Mason, ,

Kim, J., Mason, N. M., Snapp, S., & Wu, F. (2019). Does sustainable intensification of maize production enhance child nutrition? Evidence from rural Tanzania. Agricultural Economics, 50(6), 723-734.


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 agricultural management practices and inputs that contribute to SI from an environmental standpoint do indeed improve food security or child nutrition. We use three waves of data from the nationally‐representative Tanzania National Panel Survey to analyze the child nutrition effects of rural households’ adoption of farming practices that can contribute to the SI of maize production. We group households into four categories based on their use of three soil fertility management practices on their maize plots: “Nonadoption”; “Intensification” (use of inorganic fertilizer only); “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 results from multinomial endogenous treatment effects models with the Mundlak–Chamberlain device suggest that use of practices in the “SI” category is associated with improvements in children's height‐for‐age and weight‐for‐age z‐scores relative to “Nonadoption,” particularly for children aged 25–59 months. These effects appear to come through improvements in both crop income and productivity.


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