The role of irrigation in enabling dietary diversity in Afghanistan

This paper adds to the sparse literature on irrigation-diet linkages by contributing fresh evidence from Afghanistan and addresses the lacuna regarding the pathways through which such linkages may operate. Using data from the latest round of the nationally representative Afghanistan Living Condition Survey (2013-14), this study explores the role of irrigation in dietary diversity in Afghanistan. Results show that possession of irrigated land and garden plots are positively associated with household dietary diversity. Two pathways underlie this relationship. On the one hand, irrigation facilities are positively correlated with diversity of food intake from own production.

On the other hand, irrigated garden plots are positively associated with greater diversity of food purchased at the market. The study also finds that dietary diversity is positively associated with households’ ratio of dietary diversity from own production. Evidence suggests that irrigation facilities could be important but not sufficient conditions in addressing dietary diversity among smallholders in Afghanistan. A multi-sectoral approach including initiatives to strengthen market integration and provision of education to farmers to grow nutritious crops is called for.

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South Asia Focus

Funded by UK DFID

This research has been funded by the UK Government’s Department for International Development; however the views expressed do not necessarily reflect the UK Government’s official policies



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