Food Security and Nutrition Network
Select Language

Agricultural Growth is Good, But is Not Enough to Improve Nutrition

Event Details
Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 12:30pm to 2:00pm
World Bank Main Complex, 1818 H Street, NW Washington, DC, Room MC4-100


Agricultural growth is generally more pro-poor than growth in industry and service sectors. However, much less is known about the relationship between agricultural growth and nutrition outcomes. Using cross-country regressions, we find that economic growth—and agricultural growth in particular—translates into substantial reduction in hunger globally, but child malnutrition is much less responsive. We then apply a comprehensive macro-micro framework and data from Malawi and Yemen to analyze the nutritional impact of specific agricultural and non-agricultural policies. Results suggest that economic policies can have significant effects on household food accessibility; yet the design of policies matter. While an agricultural sector-wide approach has high potential to improve household staple food consumption in Malawi, industry and service sector-led growth is better suited to tackle hunger in Yemen. Though neither agricultural nor non-agricultural growth is sufficient to significantly reduce child malnutrition and (some) micronutrient deficiencies due to limiting non-income factors such as lacking nutritional knowledge, inappropriate child feeding practices, disease burden, and inadequate health care. Therefore, economic policies need to be accompanied by strategic investments in complementary sectors and target nutrition and health programs. We demonstrate that such interventions are highly cost-effective and discuss examples for promising approaches to reduce malnutrition in Malawi and Yemen.

Lunch will be served.

Speaker Bio

Dr. Olivier Ecker is a Research Fellow at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI). He joined the Development Strategy and Governance Division of IFPRI in 2009. Olivier is an economist specializing in development strategy and policies for poverty reduction, food security, and nutrition improvement in the Middle East and North Africa region and Sub‐Saharan Africa. Before joining IFPRI, he worked as a Research Associate in the Department of International Agricultural Trade and Food Security of the University of Hohenheim, Germany. Olivier received his doctoral degree in agricultural economics from the University of Hohenheim.


If you are interested in attending from outside the World Bank, please RSVP directly to

This event is organized by the SecureNutrition Knowledge Platform