Do agricultural outputs of partly autarkic peasants affect their health and nutrition? Evidence from Rwanda
In rural areas of less developed countries because of market imperfections, the health and nutritional status of peasants may directly depend on the production levels of specific agricultural goods rather than solely on income levels. This channel of health and nutrition determination has never been studied.
In order to assess and test the empirical possibility of this channel, we estimate the responses of health and nutritional status of autarkic agricultural households in Rwanda with respect to differences in socio-demographic characteristics and the main agricultural outputs and inputs while controlling for local environment and sampling scheme. Several food outputs are found to have a positive influence on health and nutrition, whereas the production of traditional beers has a negative impact. Moreover, greater land negatively affects health and nutrition, conditionally on agricultural production, perhaps because of a larger relative workload for households who have a large farm.
An alternative interpretation of the estimates is that they inform on the validity of the common hypothesis of perfect agricultural input/output markets with no effect of agricultural inputs/outputs on health and nutrition status. This hypothesis is rejected.