This study sheds light on the dilemma between food crop specialisation and diversification. We use data from household surveys to estimate the effects of crop diversification on nutrition (dietary diversity) and on income (crops sold) of rural households from eight developing and transition economies. We find that the vast majority of households grow crops despite the modest contribution of agriculture to income. Most agricultural land is devoted to staple food production; high-value commodities such as fruits and vegetables are also produced, but in limited quantities. Both descriptive statistics and regression results show a positive correlation between the number of crops cultivated, household income from crops and the two indicators we use for dietary diversity, also after controlling for household characteristics.

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Canadian Journal of Development Studies

Pellegrini, L., & Tasciotti, L. (2014). Crop diversification, dietary diversity and agricultural income: Empirical evidence from eight developing countries. Canadian Journal of Development Studies, 35(2), 211–227. doi:10.1080/02255189.2014.898580