Do agri-food market incentives improve food security and nutrition indicators? a microsimulation evaluation for Kenya

Food Secur. 2021 Sep 30;1-19. doi: 10.1007/s12571-021-01215-2. Online ahead of print.

Abstract

The sustainable development goal #2 aims at ending hunger and malnutrition by 2030. Given the numbers of food insecure and malnourished people on the rise, the heterogeneity of nutritional statuses and needs, and the even worse context of COVID-19 pandemic, this has become an urgent challenge for food-related policies. This paper provides a comprehensive microsimulation approach to evaluate economic policies on food access, sufficiency (energy) and adequacy (protein, fat, carbohydrate) at household level. The improvement in market access conditions in Kenya is simulated as an application case of this method, using original insights from households' surveys and biochemical and nutritional information by food item. Simulation's results suggest that improving market access increases food purchasing power overall the country, with a pro-poor impact in rural areas. The daily energy consumption per capita and macronutrients intakes per capita increase at the national level, being the households with at least one stunted child under 5 years old, and poor households living areas outside Mombasa and Nairobi, those which benefit the most. The developed method and its Kenya's application contribute to the discussion on how to evaluate nutrition-sensitive policies, and how to cover most households suffering food insecurity and nutrition deficiencies in any given country.

Supplementary information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s12571-021-01215-2.

Keywords: Africa; Food security; Household survey; Kenya; Market access; Microsimulations; Nutrition.