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Worldwide, 821 million people do not have access to enough calories, they are undernourished. In addition, close to two billion people lack micronutrients, they are malnourished and suffer from hidden hunger. Smallholder farmers are particularly affected by both under- and malnutrition. Therefore, the linkages between agriculture and nutrition are vital to study. So far, most studies have explored the link between the quantity or diversity of food produced and nutritional outcomes. Another link has been largely neglected: between the technologies used in farming and energy requirements. Given that most smallholders rely on hand tools, which requires heavy work, shifting to animal- or machine-based agricultural production may influence the energy required to perform farming activities and thereby the nutritional status of smallholder farming households. This study compared the energy requirements of farm households in the Eastern Province of Zambia at three levels of mechanization (hand tools, animal draught power and tractors) to assess the relevance of this largely neglected agriculture-nutrition linkage.

This Policy Brief is based on the study: Daum, T., Capezzone, F., & Birner, R. (2019). The forgotten agriculture-nutrition link: Estimating the energy requirements of different farming technologies in rural Zambia with time-use data.