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LCIRAH Seminar: Mobile Phones, Gender, and Nutrition among Smallholder Farm Households in Uganda

Date and Time

Wednesday, November 23, 2016 - 12:00 to 13:00

Event type

Seminar

Location

LIDC Upper Meeting Room

Speaker

Haruna Sekabira, Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, Georg-August-University of Goettingen, Germany

Abstract

Mobile phone technologies (MP) have been widely adopted in developing countries. Previous research has shown MP use to enhance market access through information exchange and market price integration. However, the impact of MP use on several smallholder welfare aspects like gender and nutrition has barely been investigated. We use panel data collected from smallholder farm households in Uganda to examine the impact of MP use on gender roles, income earning activities and nutrition. Using panel regression models, we find that MP use has a positive influence on calorie, vitamin A, iron, and zinc consumption as well as on dietary diversity at the household level. We further use a simultaneous equation system, to establish that the positive dietary effects are channeled through increased farm incomes, off-farm incomes, and remittances received by households as a result of their MP use. These effects occur because of lower transaction costs and better access to information. MP use also contributes to a larger proportion of households’ productive assets being controlled by women. Finally, MP use can enhance access to diet and nutrition related information. We conclude that MP use can contribute to inclusive and comprehensive rural development encompassing improved income, nutrition, and gender equality.