Nexus of Agricultural Policies and Nutrition Outcomes: Linkages Between Land Access Policies and Nutrition Outcomes in SSA
African Economic Research Consortium
The need to make agricultural policies more useful for nutrition has stirred interest in the study of the impact of agriculture policies on nutrition. It is from this viewpoint that this paper provides an economic theoretical linkage between land policies and nutritional outcomes, and assesses the nutritional implications of shrinking or increasing arable land sizes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). First, using theoretical derivations, the study demonstrates that the association between landholding status and household nutrition is influenced by complex associations between intervening variables which require the use of micro-level data. Second, making use of case studies based on micro-level analyses, and the application of national-level data, the findings confirm that land reforms that provide access to arable land are nutrition sensitive. In addition, the results show that market-driven land reforms are more nutrition sensitive than politically or government-driven reforms. The state of the health system also significantly influences nutritional outcomes. The main policy implication is that SSA countries can significantly improve nutritional outcomes through improved land access via market-driven reforms. There is also a need to strengthen health delivery systems to reduce the prevalence of malnutrition. Last, countries in SSA must intensify research on the impact of agricultural policies using micro-level data in order to address the complexity of the relationship between nutrition and land policies.