To explore the association between homestead food production and changes in the absolute and relative cost of food to womens dietary diversity on a national level in Bangladesh
We utilize data from the nationally representative Food Security and Nutrition Surveillance Project (FSNSP) on 77,820 women aged 18 to 40 years collected between 2011 and 2014. Food price change was measured by differencing costs between surveillance rounds by region. OLS and logistic regression analysis was undertaken pooled for all women and disaggregated by wealth quintile while controlling for a standard set of variables. Dietary diversity was measured using a standard, 9-item, unrestricted scale.
Pooled results indicate that both home gardens and poultry production had a significantly positive association with dietary diversity [0.11, p<0.000 & 0.07, p<0.000], while an increase in the difference in the ratio of rice to non-rice costs in the food basket was associated with a reduction in dietary diversity [-0.69, p<0.001], but the overall difference in total food basket cost was not associated with dietary diversity [p<0.77]. When results were disaggregated by quintile, the association with home gardens was significant for the lower four quintiles while the association of dietary diversity with poultry and ratio of rice to non-rice costs in the food basket was significant only for the lowest two quintiles.
Though increasing importance has been given to controlling food prices in urbanizing societies, the continued importance of diversified food production on homesteads should not be overlooked.