On-farm diversity and market participation are positively associated with dietary diversity of rural mothers in southern Benin, West Africa


The objective was to address the following questions: (1) to what extent varying opportunities for market participation influence the portfolio of domesticated, semi-domesticated and wild plant species (OFD) that rural HHs grow or collect? (2) do these opportunities influence the variety of foods (MD) that women of reproductive age purchase?; and (3) how do the OFD a household maintains and the variety of foods these women purchase influence their dietary diveristy (DD)? Data are based on observational research with a design to test hypotheses related to these 3 questions. Househould(HH) survey with a stratified random sample of 652 rural households over two seasons in 3 districts with different levels of urbanization and different distances to a central market place within each district, representing different opportunities for market participation.The focus was on mothers within the households, but information on husbands was also elicited. The survey elicited information on all useful plant species grown and collected by the mother and the father in a HH during the previous agricultural season, Qualitative food consumption data of the mother were documented using a structured food frequency questionnaire over a 7-day recall period. Data on all food items consumed were recorded in a completely disaggregated way, including different preparations of the same species, and the origin of the foods consumed: self-production, purchase, gathering, or gift. Quantitative data on foods consumed were collected from a 24-hour food recall of the mother using standard procedures. Additional socioeconomic information was also collected, including all market places visited in the 15 days prior to the interview.