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Open Access Impact of a homestead gardening program on household food security and empowerment of women in Bangladesh

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Abstract:

This paper assesses the additional benefits of a homestead gardening program designed to control vitamin A deficiency in Bangladesh. In February and March 2002, data were collected on the food security and social status of women from 2,160 households of active and former participants in the gardening program and from control groups in order to assess the impact and sustainability of the program. The proportions of active and former-participant households that gardened year-round were fivefold and threefold, respectively, higher than that of the control group (78% and 50% vs. 15%). In a three-month period, the households of active participants produced a median of 135 kg and consumed a median of 85 kg of vegetables, while the control households produced a median of 46 kg and consumed a median of 38 kg (p < .001). About 64% of the active-participant households generated a median garden income of 347 taka (US$1 = 51 taka), which was spent mainly on food, and 25% of the control households generated 200 taka in the same period (p < .001). The garden production and income levels of formerly participating households three years after withdrawal of program support were much higher than those of the control households, illustrating the sustainability of the program and its ability to increase household food security. Significantly more women in active- and former-participant households than in control households perceived that they had increased their economic contribution to their households since the time the program was launched in their subdistricts (> 85% vs. 52%). Similar results were found for the level of influence gained by women on household decision-making. These results highlight the multiple benefits that homestead gardening programs can bring and demonstrate that these benefits should be considered when selecting nutritional and development approaches targeting poor households.

Keywords: BANGLADESH; FOOD SECURITY; HOMESTEAD GARDENING; WOMEN EMPOWERMENT

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2005

More about this publication?
  • Established in 1978, the Food and Nutrition Bulletin (FNB) is a peer-reviewed journal published quarterly by the Nevin Scrimshaw International Nutrition Foundation.

    The focus of the journal is to highlight original scientific articles on nutrition research, policy analyses, and state-of-the-art summaries relating to multidisciplinary efforts to alleviate the problems of hunger and malnutrition in the developing world.

    Food and Nutrition Bulletin's 2012 Impact Factor: 2.106

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