Productive diversification in African agriculture and its effects on resilience and nutrition

The "triple burden" of malnutrition is a public health challenge throughout sub-Saharan Africa, where high levels of undernutrition and micronutrient deficiencies in rural areas occur alongside increased overnutrition and obesity in cities. Climate change is a major driver of food insecurity on the continent: In 2018, 237 million people in sub-Saharan Africa were undernourished. Many countries rely on the production of one crop for national food security. Maize is one of the dominant crops in sub-Saharan Africa, covering a large share of total agricultural area harvested in many countries, specifically in Southern and Eastern Africa. Subsequently, staple crops like maize account for a large share of food consumption. A recent World Bank report, ‘Productive Diversification in African Agriculture and its Effects on Resilience and Nutrition’ explores whether specializing in the production of one crop negatively affects household nutrition outcomes and climate resilience. It also studies how countries can diversify their agricultural production towards a broader range of crops.