Diversification as a means to improve household food security in Bangladesh

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Food security becomes an issue for concern and possible policy response when it points to nutritional deficiencies and access to insufficient food in many developing countries. Over the years, the prime focus has been on self-sufficiency in major cereal production and energy availability for food security
in these areas. Diversification in farm production could play a part in improving household nutritional well-being through enhancing economic access to food and increasing the opportunity to consume own production. The aim of this paper is to bridge the research gap by providing quantitative evidence on
the impact of farm diversity on household food security, highlighting the nutritional dimension in Bangladesh where rice is considered the major cereal item. In doing this, the authors compare farm households that are very specialized in rice cultivation with more diversified farm households using
two different measures of dietary diversity. In addition, two other measures of farm diversification - Simpson’s Index of Diversity along with a crop–livestock count variable - have been used in the analysis. The empirical results presented here are based on cross-sectional data collected through a multistage random sampling of 260 farm households in central, northern, and southwestern regions of Bangladesh. The results confirm that farm diversification has a positive and significant influence on food diversity and it therefore improves household food security. Diversification through shifting out of cereal cultivation particularly rice production is found to be an effective and noteworthy approach to enhance food diversity in Bangladesh. In addition, household food diversity is influenced by higher education level, better market access, household size, production per capita, non-farm income diversification, and land size. The study suggests that investment in education and development of infrastructure for better market access will help to boost dietary diversity in Bangladesh. The key policy
implication is that farm diversity needs to be encouraged as an important strategy to increase consumption of a varied diet and enhance household food security.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Developing Areas
Issue number2
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 416 Food Science
  • Food security, farm diversification, dietary diversity, Bangladesh
  • 512 Business and Management
  • Food security, farm diversification, dietary diversity, Bangladesh

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