Journal Article

Home gardens, household nutrition and income in rural farm households in Odisha, India

Home gardens have been an integral part of the recent food-based interventions aimed at stimulating changes in dietary patterns and improving nutrition. However, evidence of their effects on food security, dietary quality, child anthropometry and incomes is limited, particularly among vulnerable populations groups. Using panel data from a sample of approximately 1900 households from vulnerable population groups in Odisha, India, difference-in-differences and other econometric techniques, we analyse the effects of home gardens on food security, dietary quality, child anthropometry and income. On average, home gardens contribute to better household food security, higher dietary quality of men and women but do not contribute to higher children's dietary quality and anthropometry. Also, home gardens increase monthly per adult equivalent incomes by 37% and reduce the prevalence of poverty by 11.7 percentage points. Quantile regression results suggest that home gardens enhance food security and incomes in all quantiles, but richer farmers benefit more than poorer farmers. Overall, home gardens can enhance household food security, dietary quality of men and women, and income gains among vulnerable farming population groups, but they may not suffice to improve child dietary quality and anthropometry.