Agricultural market access and dietary diversity in Kenya: Gender considerations towards improved household nutritional outcomes

Peer Reviewed


Achieving food and nutritional security by all people at all times is a key development goal at the global, regional, and national levels. To achieve access to sufficient safe food of acceptable quality at all times, gender mainstreaming in food and nutritional policies, programs, and projects is increasingly being recognized as important to the realization of this goal. In addition, access to well-functioning markets is likely to improve farmers' profitability and their access to diverse nutritious foods. This paper avails evidence on the effect of gendered access to organized agricultural markets on household dietary diversity scores in Kenya using nationwide survey data. Using an inverse probability weighted treatment-effect estimator, we evaluate whether improving women’s and men’s access to well-functioning agricultural markets facilitates diet diversity among households. The analysis shows that while improving both women's and men’s agricultural commercialization through organized marketing systems improves the dietary diversity outcomes of households, the effect of women is double that of men. However, greater effects are achieved when both the female and male in the same household have access to well-functioning agricultural markets. Further, addressing the human and socio-economic needs of households is also important in enhancing households’ dietary diversity quality.


•The study assesses gendered access to agricultural markets on dietary diversity.

•Access to organized agricultural markets improves the dietary diversity of households.

•The effect of women’s access is much larger; more than double that of men.

•Women’s effect is much larger; more than double that of men.

•The effect is greatest with gender parity in access to organized agricultural markets.

•Households’ human and social capital needs are also important for dietary quality.

Sustainable Development Goals
Publication reference
Science Direct April 2021

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Publication | 26 April 2021