Farm production diversification and dietary diversity among subsistence farming households: panel data evidence from South Africa

SOURCE: Sustainability
OUTPUT TYPE: Journal Article
TITLE AUTHOR(S): S.Sinyolo, C.Murendo, A.M.Nyamwanza, S.A.Sinyolo, C.Ndinda, C.O.Nwosu
DEPARTMENT: Inclusive Economic Development (IED), Human and Social Capabilities (HSC), Impact Centre (IC), Impact Centre (PRESS), Impact Centre (CC)
Print: HSRC Library: shelf number 12134
HANDLE: 20.500.11910/16419

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Improving the production of a variety of foods by subsistence farmers has been identified as a key strategy for improving dietary diversity. However, there is limited evidence in South Africa on how ones own production is linked to dietary diversity. This study relies on nationally representative panel data to investigate the extent to which farm production diversity is correlated with dietary diversity. The data indicated a moderate level of household dietary diversity that has been on a declining trend between 2008 and 2017. The farm households produced three food groups (meat, cereals, and vegetables), suggesting more reliance on food purchases than own production. The study found a positive relationship between own production diversification and dietary diversity and that dietary diversity varied by demographics and socio-economic characteristics of households. However, production diversity was not significantly associated with the consumption of micronutrient-rich foods such as fruits or vegetables. Higher levels of education, income per capita, food expenditure, and geographic location were some of the key drivers of dietary diversity among subsistence households. The findings suggest that encouraging subsistence farming households to produce various crop and animal species can be an effective strategy to improve dietary diversity among poor households in South Africa.