Crop diversification and child health: Empirical evidence from Tanzania

Produced as part of the Managing climate risks and uncertainties and strengthening climate services CCCEP research programme theme

Working paper 237

Malnutrition is recognized as a major issue among low-income households in developing countries with long-term implications for economic development. Recently, crop diversification has been recognized as a strategy to improve nutrition and health, and as a risk coping strategy used by farmers in the face of climate change. However, there is no systematic empirical evidence on the role played by crop diversification in improving human health. We use the Tanzania National Panel Survey to investigate the effects of crop diversification on child health. We use fixed effects panel estimation to control for unobserved heterogeneity, and perform several robustness checks including placebo tests to test the validity of our findings. We find a positive and significant effect of crop diversification on long-term child nutritional status, in particular for very young children and children living in households with limited market access.