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The impact of iron bio-availability-enhanced diets on the health and productivity of school children: evidence from a mungbean feeding trial in Tamil Nadu, India

By: Weinberger, K | Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maiz y Trigo (CIMMYT), Mexico DF (Mexico) | International Conference on Impacts of Agricultural Research and Development San José (Costa Rica) 4-7 Feb 2002.
Contributor(s): Watson, D.J [ed.].
Material type: materialTypeLabelBookAnalytics: Show analyticsPublisher: Mexico, DF (Mexico) CIMMYT : 2003Description: p. 44.ISBN: 970-648-076-5.Subject(s): Children | Economic behaviour | Feeding | Health policies | Micronutrients | Poverty | Productivity | Rural population | Sociocultural environment | Technology | Women | CIMMYTDDC classification: 338.91 Summary: Currently, there is no consensus regarding the measurement of indirect impacts of improved technologies for the poor, for instance on health and productivity. The objective of this paper is to contribute to the discussion by quantifying the impact of improved mungbean related technologies on the micronutrient status and productivity of women in Pakistan and India. Micronutrient deficiencies remain a persistent health problem in South Asia. Among the different forms of micronutrient deficiencies, iron anemia is one of the most prominent. It is estimated that 60% of South Asian children under five suffer from some form of iron deficiency. The principal cause of micronutrient malnutrition is inadequate diets. Foods rich in micronutrients, such as vegetables and pulses, are consumed in insufficient quantities because they are either unaffordable or undesirable. Promoting micronutrient rich crops, such as pulses, can help to reduce micronutrient deficiencies. This can be achieved by reducing pulse prices, through technological innovations, and by attempting to change processing and preparation habits. Mungbeans are a promising crop in this respect because they benefit both producers and consumers. For producers, mungbeans require low inputs, restore soil fertility, are a short-duration crop, and can easily be integrated into cereal-based crop rotations using wheat, maize and rice. For consumers, mungbeans contain high levels of protein and iron, hence providing important nutrients for the cereal-based diets of the poor. Previous studies in Pakistan have shown that improved mungbean varieties provide US$8.8 million annually to producers and consumers. Of this direct economic benefit, 62% goes to producers (5.5 million US$), and 38% go to consumers (3.3 million US$). While these figures are impressive, indirect benefits due to technological improvements, which typically exceed those of direct benefits, are not included in this estimation. This study quantifies the indirect benefits of improved mungbean-related technologies in Pakistan and India. A feeding trial in India measured the impact of improved mungbean food preparation practices on the bioavailability of iron. Blood iron content, health, and cognitive achievements were assessed in 225 adult women and 225 children during a one-year time period. Preliminary results indicate that, compared to the control group, the anemic status of participating women improved considerably. The study found that in Pakistan, the release of new mungbean varieties led to an increase in consumption. The impact of increased micronutrient intake on productivity was estimated using the combined results of a food consumption survey and health and wage information. Since wages and nutrient intake may be determined simultaneously, income was treated as an endogenous variable, and a two-stage least square approach was applied. Preliminary results indicate that productivity, measured in wages, is determined by micronutrient intake. Mungbeans were an important iron source for the women sampled. In conclusion, policy interventions aimed at enhancing micronutrient intake can be regarded as investments in improved health and productivity and higher household incomes.Collection: CIMMYT Publications Collection
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Conference proceedings CIMMYT Knowledge Center: John Woolston Library

Lic. Jose Juan Caballero Flores

 

CIMMYT Publications Collection 338.91 WAT (Browse shelf) 1 Available S632147
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Abstract only

Currently, there is no consensus regarding the measurement of indirect impacts of improved technologies for the poor, for instance on health and productivity. The objective of this paper is to contribute to the discussion by quantifying the impact of improved mungbean related technologies on the micronutrient status and productivity of women in Pakistan and India. Micronutrient deficiencies remain a persistent health problem in South Asia. Among the different forms of micronutrient deficiencies, iron anemia is one of the most prominent. It is estimated that 60% of South Asian children under five suffer from some form of iron deficiency. The principal cause of micronutrient malnutrition is inadequate diets. Foods rich in micronutrients, such as vegetables and pulses, are consumed in insufficient quantities because they are either unaffordable or undesirable. Promoting micronutrient rich crops, such as pulses, can help to reduce micronutrient deficiencies. This can be achieved by reducing pulse prices, through technological innovations, and by attempting to change processing and preparation habits. Mungbeans are a promising crop in this respect because they benefit both producers and consumers. For producers, mungbeans require low inputs, restore soil fertility, are a short-duration crop, and can easily be integrated into cereal-based crop rotations using wheat, maize and rice. For consumers, mungbeans contain high levels of protein and iron, hence providing important nutrients for the cereal-based diets of the poor. Previous studies in Pakistan have shown that improved mungbean varieties provide US$8.8 million annually to producers and consumers. Of this direct economic benefit, 62% goes to producers (5.5 million US$), and 38% go to consumers (3.3 million US$). While these figures are impressive, indirect benefits due to technological improvements, which typically exceed those of direct benefits, are not included in this estimation. This study quantifies the indirect benefits of improved mungbean-related technologies in Pakistan and India. A feeding trial in India measured the impact of improved mungbean food preparation practices on the bioavailability of iron. Blood iron content, health, and cognitive achievements were assessed in 225 adult women and 225 children during a one-year time period. Preliminary results indicate that, compared to the control group, the anemic status of participating women improved considerably. The study found that in Pakistan, the release of new mungbean varieties led to an increase in consumption. The impact of increased micronutrient intake on productivity was estimated using the combined results of a food consumption survey and health and wage information. Since wages and nutrient intake may be determined simultaneously, income was treated as an endogenous variable, and a two-stage least square approach was applied. Preliminary results indicate that productivity, measured in wages, is determined by micronutrient intake. Mungbeans were an important iron source for the women sampled. In conclusion, policy interventions aimed at enhancing micronutrient intake can be regarded as investments in improved health and productivity and higher household incomes.

English

0310|R01CIMPU|AGRIS 0301|AL-Economics Program

Juan Carlos Mendieta

CIMMYT Publications Collection

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