Everything is connected. I have been interested in agriculture and nutrition of South Asia ever since. Working in this region and studying tropical agriculture gave me profound background for working with farmers on agricultural production and processing. After all, agriculture is primarily about the satisfaction of the taste of the many.
Given my experience and background, I decided to dig deeper into interlinkages of agriculture and nutrition in the form of my own research project. Therefore, I think it is greatly challenging and at the same time rewarding to dig deeper into the question:
What determines our daily nutrition?
My PhD studies started in October 2015 and are planned to last until September 2018. I am based at the Center for Development Research in Bonn, Germany. But I am spending a great part of my PhD in India and Bangladesh for field research. My area of focus is Agricultural and Development Economics for which I am kindly supervised by Professor Joachim von Braun.
You can find my research abstract below.
The literature reveals that the probability of having a sufficient calorie intake is related to various social, economic and political factors. Recent cross-sectional analyses indicate similar results for dietary diversity. However, evidence on changes over time and, to a certain extent, evidence on the impact of shocks is missing since it goes beyond the scope of any cross-sectional study. Yet, it is crucial for understanding consumption patterns. Accounting for trends and shocks is also essential for analyzing the resilience of dietary quality. This study will therefore focus on disentangling the observable and unobservable determinants of individual dietary quality. That entails individual information (micro-level), social interaction (meso-level) and economic and environmental influences (macro-level).
The primary geographic focus is proposed to be on rural areas in Bangladesh and in West Bengal, India. It is aimed for a comparative study between the two regions. The group of interest are smallholder farming households that are particularly prone to environmental risks. Children under 5 and women of reproductive age are the research subjects. This study will utilize existing food and nutrition security data that has been collected over multiple waves. A survey on social interaction and on economic preferences as well as potential additional nutritional status surveys will complement the existing data. The research objective will be accomplished by utilizing primarily econometric methods.
The findings will indicate the magnitude of impacts that the determinants have on diet quality of vulnerable groups. The direct impact of seasonality on nutrition will be estimated as well as the impact of certain shocks. Finally, the resilience of dietary intake can be evaluated via the identified determinants. This study will therefore add to the literature by utilizing longitudinal datasets for analyzing the impact of observable determinants on diet quality, by estimating the impact of latent determinants on diet quality, and by improving the methodology of existing studies. The results can guide interventions that aim for improving the nutrition of vulnerable groups.