Farm Production Diversity: Is it Important for Food Security, Dietary Diversity and Nutrition? Panel Data Evidence from Uganda
Improved food security (quantities of food available to households for consumption) and nutrition security (quality of food available to households) remain global problems. Yet, food and nutrition security are areas of strategic importance with regard to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. The changing global food production systems pose a threat to sustainable improved food and nutrition security. Consequently, a significant population globally remains chronically hungry. Some evidence points to market access as pivotal to enhancing food and nutrition security, whereas other evidence points to own farm production diversity. Mixed evidence creates knowledge gaps that worsen with disjointed insufficient empirical works on the global agriculture-nutrition nexus. Using national household panel survey data from Uganda, and panel regression models, we find that farm production diversity is associated with both improved food and nutrition security. We identified that markets and own farm production are two important food security pathways through which households secure their nutrition. Own farm production was associated with larger effects. Patterns by which these pathways influenced household dietary diversity were similar to those for daily energy, iron and zinc intake, except for vitamin A. We also found gender effects with regard to household nutrition security. Findings could have broader implications for several countries practising smallholder agriculture.