The Impact of Irrigated Agriculture on Child Nutrition Outcomes in Southern Ghana

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Okyere, Charles Y.
Usman, Muhammed A.
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African Economic Research Consortium
In this study, we investigated whether irrigated agriculture results in improved child nutrition outcomes among farm households in southern Ghana. Using panel data collected between 2014 and 2015, the results from the inverse probability weighted regression adjustment (IPWRA) estimator suggest that children living with irrigating households have, on average, higher weight-for-age and weight-for-height than children residing with non-irrigating households. Males and under-five children gained substantial improvements. Disaggregating irrigation by type, the results indicated that households planting on riverbeds or riverbanks had improved child nutrition. Additionally, children living with households lifting water from water sources had higher height-for-age and weight-for-age. Further analysis of the underlying pathways suggests that an increase in health care financing and improvement in environmental quality rather than decreases in illness incidence may be the crucial channels. Altogether, the findings showed the importance of investments in agricultural development, particularly in small-scale irrigated agriculture technologies, to reduce childhood undernutrition.