Crop Production Diversity and Women Dietary Diversity in Rural Kenya

Despite the commitments and efforts to fight all forms of malnutrition, malnutrition among women in Kenya persists. Using the Kenya Integrated Household Budget Survey data this paper examined, the extent to which crop diversification and diet diversity among women in rural Kenya vary by region; the impact of crop diversification on dietary diversity among women in rural Kenya; and the extent to which market access and participation mediates the impact of crop diversification on diet diversity among women (WDDS) in rural Kenya. Our findings show that there exist wide disparities in crop and diet diversity across regions. Second, we find that higher crop production diversity has a positive and significant association with women dietary diversity which is plausible in a smallholder subsistence-oriented farming system like rural Kenya where a significant portion of what is produced is consumed. Third, we establish that higher household diet diversity is negatively associated with women diet diversity which affirms the existence of significant differences in intrahousehold such that non-female household. This could be an indicator of preferential food ‘channelling’ to within households where women act as buffers during episodes of food-insecure conditions. Finally, the effect of distance to the nearest market on women’s diet is positive albeit insignificant while market participation has a significant positive effect on women’s dietary diversity and its effect is largest than that of crop diversity.