Using natural areas and empowering women to buffer food security and nutrition from climate shocks: Evidence from Ghana, Zambia, and Bangladesh

As climate change makes precipitation shocks more common, policymakers are becoming increasingly interested in protecting food systems and nutrition outcomes from the damaging effects of droughts and floods (Wheeler and von Braun, 2013). Increasing the resilience of nutrition and food security outcomes is especially critical throughout agrarian parts of the developing world, where human subsistence and well-being are directly affected by local rainfall. In this study, we use data from Feed the Future datasets from Ghana, Zambia, and Bangladesh to examine the impact of precipitation extremes on food security as well as the role of natural land cover and women’s empowerment in creating resilience. We first model the effects of extreme rainfall on indicators of nutrition and food security, and then examine whether women’s empowerment and environmental land cover types can dampen the effects of rainfall shocks on these food security and nutrition outcomes. Our results find that there is a strong association between extreme precipitation and household hunger. Further, they suggest that in certain contexts land cover types providing ecosystem services can reduce household hunger scores, that empowering women can mitigate the effects of precipitation shocks, and that there may be an interactive effect between ecosystem service availability and women’s empowerment.

Overcoming gender gaps in rural mechanization: Lessons from reaper-harvester service provision in Bangladesh - Policy Note

Custom hiring of labor- and cost-saving agricultural machinery services is increasingly common in South Asia. We studied the gendered differences in women’s and men’s involvement in emerging markets for reaper-harvester machinery services in the Feed the Future Zone in Bangladesh. We find that women benefit from managing and sometimes owning machinery services, as well as from the direct and indirect consequences of hiring such services to harvest their crops. However, a number of technical, economic, and cultural barriers constrain women’s full participation in these benefits. The brief provides suggestions for initiatives promoting rural machinery services to more fully engage women, as business owners and users of machinery, to expand the benefits of these markets, with relevance for South Asia and other farming geographies dominated by smallholders.

Feed the Future DATATHON Goes In-Country, Encouraging Original Research in Bangladesh

To showcase the use of Feed-the-Future Open Agriculture and Nutrition Datasets in agricultural research and development, IFPRI's Gender, Climate Change and Nutrition Integration Initiative (GCAN) organized the second Feed the Future DATATHON to make household-level data more accessible and interoperable with other databases, and in particular with spatially explicit, biophysical data layers.

Research Priorities for Bangladesh - Policy Note

Climate change, coupled with high levels of poverty and population density, is a substantial threat to sustainable development in Bangladesh. Climate-related threats, such as flooding, inundation, salt-water intrusion, and changes in temperatures are increasing with climate change. Achieving the goals of Feed the Future and the Global Food Security Strategy requires careful consideration of the impact of relevant climate science on agricultural production, while at the same time considering other cross-cutting issues that influence agricultural growth, poverty alleviation, and resilience—especially gender and nutrition. This policy note summarizes assessments of these linkages in Bangladesh under GCAN.

GCAN presentation to USAID mission in Bangladesh

During a week-long visit in Bangladesh in January 2017, the GCAN team presented key climate-gender-nutrition linkages. Productive discussions took place between the GCAN team and USAID Mission staff on priorities and potential research topics that would inform USAID's programming in Bangladesh. The GCAN team also met with local implementing partners and stakeholders to gather information on current initiatives related to climate-gender-nutrition linkages in Bangladesh. The GCAN team and the USAID Bangladesh Mission are currently working together to move these research topics forward. GCAN presentation to Bangladesh USAID Mission slide deck

Bangladesh Mapping

For Bangladesh, the IFPRI team will set up an econometric model using the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey 2011-2 and 2015-6 to test for the effect of biophysical variables like soils or weather on socio-economic characteristics of the households with a focus on climate-gender-nutrition relationships. This novel use of spatial analysis techniques can suggest policy advice tailored to different agro-ecologies and household types. The IFPRI team will adopt an explicit strategy to support researchers and policy makers who would like to explore different linkages and answer interesting policy as well as research questions. We will document the output of this process, from the raw data to the end-results, so that it can be reproduced by others.

BIHS Harmonized Dataset

To facilitate the use of Feed-the-Future Open Agriculture and Nutrition Datasets in agricultural research and development, the IFPRI's Gender, Climate Change and Nutrition Integration (GCAN) team harmonized and standardized the Bangladesh Integrated Household Survey (BIHS) (2011 and 2015, available on IFPRI Dataverse) across four key food security-relevant domains (climate, agriculture, nutrition, and gender), with the objective to make household-level data more accessible and interoperable with other databases, and in particular with spatially-explicit, biophysical data layers. The harmonization and standardization will allow users to work with the BIHS and other Feed-the-Future survey data across countries, with the same variable definitions, labels, and contents.


Identified in 2005 by Goldman-Sachs as one of the ―"Next 11" emerging economies, Bangladesh has both potential as well as severe challenges for agricultural production and food security. (more…)