CLOSAN – Local Food Provisions Evaluation

Lead Organization:

World Food Programme Ecuador

Community of Practice:

Andes

Duration:

2/2013—2/2015

Overview:

The United Nations World Food Program (WFP) has agreed with the Government of Ecuador to study the benefits and cost-effectiveness of food voucher programs that are based on locally available fresh crops (such as lupin, quinoa, mashua, broad beans, potatoes, fruits and vegetables including watercress, kale, zucchini and local squash) instead of imported or highly processed industrial products. CCRP funds would be used to evaluate a pilot project in the Chimborazo Province that will be financed with funds from sources other than the CCRP. The assessment results will be used to inform public policy  in Ecuador and will offer important contributions to our understanding of approaches to enhance the effectiveness and timeliness of development outcomes by working with and consolidating networks of local governments, development organizations, agricultural research centers and farmer organizations.  The project intervention we impact 651 consumer households and 2 farmer associations representing 1070 farmers.

Grant Aims:

  • Improve the dietary diversity and nutritional status (such as lowering the prevalence of anaemia) of children under three from poor families
  • Strengthen the capacity of local governments to implement project modalities that improve food and nutrition security by developing evidence based models
  • Build sustainable livelihoods of small producers who depend on agriculture markets for their subsistence, with a special focus on women.

Outputs and Outcomes:

  • Baseline survey in Chimborazo province suggests: – that while the project wants to target children in preschool, 99% of kids 0-4 do not attend any per-school mostly because parents don’t think they are ready, (n=310 targeted households) and – that 32% of the population as a food consumption score of “poor”, a diet diversity index of 68/ 100 (100 being the highest), index of insufficient calorie intake of 68.7%, an incidence of anemia among boy children of 76% and of girls of 73%. A percentage of chronic malnutrition (stunting) of 53% in boys and 42% in girls and a rate of global malnutrition (underweight) of 13% girls 8% boys. (n=310, total universe, randomly targeted)
  • A randomized control trial with 3 treatments and a control (n=234 in evaluation study 800 total beneficiaries) was  undertaken for low income mothers of small children in the province of Chimborazo, Ecuador (treatment  1received $40 worth of nutritious and diverse food from local farmer groups, group 2 food and nutrition training, group 3 both of those and desparitisitation and water quality improvement — 1 year intervention.) There was no change in nutrition or anemia for any of the groups but there was significant and equal impact for all three of the treatment groups in terms of diversification of the diet, which shows that the food basket was the key factor for future interventions.  Diet diversity is an important indicator because census data indicates 42% of indigenous children under 5  have chronic malnutrition and the bottom 20% of the population in terms of income has the highest consumption of carbohydrates (46%), consumption of fruits and vegetables is below recommendations. Children under 1 year of age and those in the bottom fifth of income have the highest levels of anemia (62%), in the former case, this partially reflects low pre-natal or maternal stores of iron. A negative and significant impact was found among women who received training and their participation in contraceptives and if the women should work, a result that should be further explored in future studies.
  • A one year intervention in the Chimborazo province of Ecuador connected farmer groups (n=6) to a food assistance program to low income mothers of under 3 year olds(n=800 households). The average number of farmers active in the provisioning of food went from 67 to 99 for a total of roughly 600 farmers in the province with the percentage of men increasing, indicating this was an attractive market. The farmers produced both the staple crops of quinoa, barley and wheat as well as vegetables like onion, lettuce, broccoli, carrots, chard, cauliflower, spinach, lupin, favas and some animal meat. There was no rigorous data collection on the farmers so a new phase will look more closely at changes in farmer production and well-being.