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Cows, Missing Milk Markets and Nutrition in Rural Ethiopia

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Document pages: 27 pages

Abstract: In rural economies encumbered by significant market imperfections, farming decisions may partly be motivated by nutritional considerations, in addition to income and risk factors. This condition creates the potential for farm assets to have direct impacts on nutrition in addition to any indirect effects via income. We test this hypothesis in the context of dairy markets in rural Ethiopia, a context in which markets are very thin, own-consumption shares are very high, and milk is an important source of animal-based proteins and micronutrients for young children. We find that cow ownership raises children’s milk consumption, increases linear growth and reduces stunting in children by nine percentage points. However, we also find that household cow ownership is less important where there is good access to either formal or informal local markets, suggesting that market development can substitute for household cow ownership.

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