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

Victor N. Bushamuka, Saskia de Pee, Aminuzzaman Talukder, Lynnda Kiess, Dora Panagides, Abu Taher, Martin Bloem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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 gardeningprogram 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 subdistrics (> 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-25
Number of pages9
JournalFood and nutrition bulletin
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • Bangladesh
  • Food security
  • Homestead gardening
  • Women empowerment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nutrition and Dietetics

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