Income and nutrition in smallholder farm households in Manabi Province, Ecuador.
AuthorMack, Maura Dolores.
Committee ChairFox, Roger
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractThis study utilized an interdisciplinary approach, drawing upon the fields of agriculture, agricultural economics, nutrition, and anthropology, to identify and understand the relationships between income and other household characteristics, and nutrition in smallholder farm households in Manabi Province, Ecuador. The following main hypotheses were tested: household food consumption and preschooler nutritional status are positively associated with (1) household income; (2) women's income; (3) level of parental education; (4) seasonality of agricultural production and income; and (5) farming system diversity. Research was conducted over a 14-month period from October 1989 to December 1990 in 15 rural communities in coastal Ecuador. The research sample consisted of 108 households, including 172 preschool children. Agricultural production, income, and food consumption data were obtained formally via questionnaires administered during three distinct seasons in the agricultural cycle and informally using an ethnographic approach. Preschooler nutritional status was assessed via age, height, and weight measurements. Multivariate analysis revealed that in-kind income (food from on-farm sources) and parental education were the principal determinants of household food consumption. In-kind income was especially important to households in the lowest income quartile, contributing one-third of their total earnings. Although cash income accounted for three-fourths of total income for most households, it had an insignificant effect on nutrition, suggesting that form rather than level of income was key to household food consumption. Women's income was generally too small to achieve a statistically significant impact on household nutrition. Level of parental education was the primary determinant of long-run preschooler nutritional status, while health-related factors, not explicitly addressed in the multivariate model, were probably the best predictors of current nutritional status. Despite significant seasonality in agricultural production and income, most households maintained a constant level and quality of food consumption, implying effective coping strategies to maintain household food security. There was a negative relationship between farming system crop diversity and nutrition, suggesting that it was not how many different crops that were grown, but which crops were produced and what was done with the harvest that was crucial to household nutrition.
Degree ProgramArid Lands Resource Sciences