Nutrition and agricultural policy issues: current evidence and research agenda
MetadataShow full item record
Accelerating agricultural production by shifting from subsistence or semi-subsistence food production to the production of cash crops is the cornerstone of economic development. But, agricultural policies to increase agricultural production may have a negative or less than expected impact on the nutritional status of any given population. The determinants of nutritional status include the availability of food, the ability of the household to acquire available food, the desire to obtain food to which the households have access, and intrahousehold food distribution. Various field studies have shown that poverty is a central cause of malnutrition in both rural and urban areas. The determinants of rural poverty are closely related to laj|jd tenure and the characteristics of agricultural production—including the type of production technology and the availability of credit, extension services, infrastructure, agricultural services, and market opportunities. In many African countries, the expected improvements in nutrition have failed to materialize from expanded food and agricultural production. In some cases, the transition from subsistence to cash agriculture has had a negative effect on staple food production and, consequently, on household food security and nutrition. It is, therefore, essential to examine the causes of malnutrition through expanded research on the production and consumption linkages of rural families. The purpose of this paper is to assemble current evidence derived from past research and use this information to discuss some relevant nutritional and agricultural issues in our region and to identify areas for further research.