Does Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production Enhance Child Nutrition? Evidence from Rural…

Jongwoo Kim, Nicole M. Mason, and Sieglinde Snapp. October 2017. Does Sustainable Intensification of Maize Production Enhance Child Nutrition? Evidence from Rural Tanzania. Feed the Future Innovation Lab for Food Security Policy Research Brief 48. East Lansing: Michigan State University

KEY FINDINGS

  • For children under age five (0-59 months), their household’s adoption of Intensification (use of only inorganic fertilizer), Sustainable (use of only organic fertilizer, only maize-legume intercropping, or both), and SI (joint use of inorganic fertilizer with organic fertilizer and/or maize-legume intercropping) practices for maize production raises children’s height-for-age z-score (HAZ). (An HAZ below -2 indicates that a child is stunted.) However, only the adoption of SI practices increases children’s weight-for-age z-score (WAZ). (A WAZ below -2 indicates that a child is underweight.)
  • For children aged 25-59 months, who are less likely than younger children to be breastfed and may be more directly affected by household diet changes associated with changes in agricultural practices and production, adopting practices in the Sustainable and SI groups increases HAZ by 44% and 38%, respectively, and WAZ by 29% and 52%, respectively. Moreover, the adoption of these practices reduces the probability of stunting and underweight among children aged 25-59 months.
  • On the other hand, Intensification (use of inorganic fertilizer only) increases the probability of stunting and underweight among this older group of children.
  • Overall, use of more sustainable maize production practices such as applying organic fertilizer and intercropping with legumes, alone and in combination with inorganic fertilizer, appears to be more beneficial to child nutritional outcomes than use of inorganic fertilizer alone.

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