Crop Production Diversity and Women Dietary Diversity in Rural Kenya - Policy Brief

Despite the commitments and efforts to fight all forms of malnutrition, malnutrition in Kenya persists. Using the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey 2005/06 (a nationally representative survey), we examine the linkages between diversity in crop production and dietary diversity of women in rural Kenya. The findings show that crop production diversity is low, with three crops being grown by households, on average. Second, we also find dietary diversity to be low, with women’s consumption bundle disproportionately lower than the household. We find that in rural Kenya, women consume, on average, from four food groups in contrast with five food groups consumed by other household members. In terms of the linkages, we find that diversity in crop production correlates with rural women’s dietary diversity positively, with the channels being through own production and market access. Overall, this suggests that diversity in crop production leads to higher dietary diversity of women and thus calls for agricultural policies that encourage crop diversification. In addition, enhancing market infrastructure, particularly programmes linking farmers to the market, are promising strategies to improve women’s nutrition and thus an imperative.