Does Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production Enhance Child Nutrition? Evidence from Rural Tanzania


October 2, 2017 - Author: Jongwoo Kim, Nicole M. Mason, and <>

Jongwoo Kim, Nicole M. Mason, and Sieglinde Snapp. October 2017. Does Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production Enhance Child Nutrition? Evidence from Rural Tanzania. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Brief 48. East Lansing: Michigan State University


  • For children under age five (0-59 months), their household’s adoption of Intensification (use of only inorganic fertilizer), Sustainable (use of only organic fertilizer, only maize-legume intercropping, or both), and SI (joint use of inorganic fertilizer with organic fertilizer and/or maize-legume intercropping) practices for maize production raises children’s height-for-age z-score (HAZ). (AnHAZ below -2 indicates that a child is stunted.) However, only the adoption of SI practices increases children’s weight-for-age z-score (WAZ).(A WAZ below -2 indicates that a child isunderweight.)
  • For children aged 25-59 months, who are less likely than younger children to be breastfed and may be more directly affected by household diet changes associated with changes in agricultural practices and production, adopting practices in the Sustainable and SI groups increases HAZ by 0.44and 0.38 units, respectively, and WAZ by 0.29 and0.52 units, respectively, relative to non-adopting households. These changes are against sub-sample mean HAZ and WAZ values of -1.77 and -0.98, respectively.
  • On the other hand, adoption of Intensification (use of inorganic fertilizer only) has no statistically significant effects on HAZ and WAZ among children aged 25-59 months.
  • Overall, use of more sustainable maize production practices such as applying organic fertilizer and intercropping with legumes, alone and in combination with inorganic fertilizer, appears to be more beneficial to child nutritional outcomes than use of inorganic fertilizer alone.



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