From Farm to Kitchen: How gender affects production diversity and the dietary intake of farm households in Ethiopia

Thomas Lemma Argaw* (Corresponding Author), Euan Phimister, Deborah Roberts

*Corresponding author for this work

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Malnutrition in farm households remains a significant problem in many developing countries and is linked to a lack of diversity in diets. We explore how gender differences might affect household dietary diversity using the LSMS-ISA Ethiopia panel dataset. Drawing on a farm household framework, nonlinear panel models are estimated allowing for unobserved heterogeneity and production endogeneity using a control function. We use decomposition techniques to identify the impact of different potential sources of gender difference in dietary diversity. Our results provide evidence of significant gender effects in production diversity and in dietary diversity using the Food Variety Score (FVS). For other indicators of dietary diversity, the evidence of gender effects is weaker. The decomposition results suggest that, after controlling for differences in characteristics, female-headed households are at a dietary diversity disadvantage. Gender differences in the relationship between production diversity, price and income and dietary diversity and the production diversity decisions appear to be the main drivers. The results also suggest that female preferences are more orientated towards ensuring greater dietary diversity in the household. Our evidence also suggests that a key driver of gender disadvantage in dietary diversity is related to whether food is sourced from the household’s own production or the market. This implies that part of the observed negative gender impact on dietary diversity may stem from differences in marketing and storage of own production through the year.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-292
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Agricultural Economics
Issue number1
Early online date27 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


  • Production diversity
  • dietary diversity
  • gender
  • Ethiopia
  • production diversity
  • Dietary diversity

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