The impact of a Solar Market Garden programme on dietary diversity, women's nutritional status and micronutrient levels in Kalalé district of northern Benin

Halimatou Alaofè, Jennifer Burney, Rosamond Naylor, Douglas L Taren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Objective:To examine the impacts of a Solar Market Garden 1-year solar-powered drip irrigation (SMG) programme in Kalalé district of northern Benin on mothers' nutritional status and micronutrient levels.Design:Using a quasi-experimental design, sixteen villages were assigned to four groups: (i) SMG women's groups (WG); (ii) comparison WG; (iii) SMG non-WG (NWG); and (iv) comparison NWG. Difference-in-differences (DID) estimates were used to assess impacts on mothers' food consumption, diversity, BMI, prevalence of underweight (BMI < 18·5 kg/m2) and anaemia, and deficiencies of iron (ID) and vitamin A (VAD).Setting:Kalalé district, northern Benin.Participants:Non-pregnant mothers aged 15-49 years (n 1737).Results:The SMG programme significantly increased mothers' intake of vegetables (DID = 25·31 percentage points (pp); P < 0·01), dietary diversity (DID = 0·74; P < 0·01) and marginally increased their intake of flesh foods (DID = 10·14 pp; P < 0·1). Mean BMI was significantly increased among SMG WG compared with the other three groups (DID = 0·44 kg/m2; P < 0·05). The SMG programme also significantly decreased the prevalence of anaemia (DID = 12·86 pp; P < 0·01) but no impacts were found for the prevalence of underweight, ID and VAD.Conclusions:Improving mothers' dietary intake and anaemia prevalence supports the need to integrate gender-based agriculture to improve nutritional status. However, it may take more than a year, and additional nutrition and health programmes, to impact the prevalence of maternal underweight, ID and VAD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPublic Health Nutrition
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019



  • Africa
  • Anaemia
  • Iron status
  • Solar-powered irrigation
  • Vitamin A status
  • Women's dietary diversity
  • Women's underweight

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science

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