Account for dietary deprivations in rural Africa: poor households, poor farms or poor food environments?

Agricultural and food policies are increasingly asked to do more to improve the dietary quality of populations in lower and middle income countries (LMICs), especially severely malnourished rural populations. However, the appropriate strategy for improving diet quality remains an open question. Agriculture has traditionally focused on food security and poverty reduction, mostly through investments in staple crops, while social protection programs have also sought to improve diets through poverty reduction. Nutrition-sensitive agriculture programs traditionally emphasize farm-level diversification into nutrient-dense crops and/or livestock, combined with nutrition education. More recently, some researchers have moved beyond the farm to assess the role of market access and local food environments more generally, though little research has focused on food environments in rural Africa. In this study explore the determinants of a new and improved measure of household diet deprivation(s) that measure consumption gaps for diets as a whole as well as gaps for individual food groups.