Impact of market-oriented dairy production on women and children: Evidence from the Ethiopian highlands
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Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/50691
This study investigates the intra-household consequences of market-oriented dairy production (MODP) based on the introduction of crossbred cows and complementary feed and management technologies. These technologies are being tested on-farm in a collaborative dairy technology project involving the Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organisation (Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization) (previously IAR), and the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI). One major objective of the project is to develop technologies to enable resource-poor smallholder mixed crop-livestock farmers to participate in market-oriented dairying. The study Reported here sought to identify the intra-household impacts of market-oriented dairy produciton and policy options to ensure that the technology benefits of MODP are realized and equitably shared within households. These and related issues were addressed in a collaborative study involving the Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute (EHNRI), Ethiopian Agricultural Research Organization, and ILRI. Members of households with crossbred cows on average consumed 17 percent more calories, 24 percent more fat and 13 percent more protein than members of dairy households with no improved cows. The households with crossbred cows spent about 7 percent more on food purchases, and, in addition, they allocated more land to growing high-protein pulses and consumed about 30 percent as much pulses. The hypothesis that increased marketing activity would lead to less milk available for home consumption is rejected. Milk consumption in households with crossbred cows was found to be more than double that in households with local cows, especially benefiting children. Other studies in other areas have Reported that as cash crops are introduced in smallholder production systems, with greater integration into the market women may lose control over cash income to men, who tend to spend less on food for the household. These results indicate that women in households with improved crossbred cows maintain control over income allocated for food purchases and make over 80 percent of household expenditures on food. Furthermore, the men in these households spend some 28 percent more on food than men in households with no crossbred cows. The anthropometric data collected by EHNRI point to the fact that the introduciton of crossbred cows could significantly improve human nutrition and health. By the end of the study, stunting of children (height for age) was found to be less than half as prevalent in households with crossbred cows (20 percent) as in those households with local cows (43 percent). Results of this study show that food-based intervention can have a significant positive impact on human nutrition and health status.