Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Applied Economics

Committee Chair(s)

DeeVon Bailey


DeeVon Bailey


Ruby Ward


Karin Allen


Roger Kjelgren


Nutritional and Economic Analysis of Small-Scale Agriculture in Imbabura, Ecuador Intervention projects in the developing world normally aim to satisfy either the nutritional needs of a group, or advancing the economic stability, but not both. One of the many issues that may arise by narrowly focusing and creating an aid program is that although a group may be fed, they are not equipped to mitigate risks that will arise after project completion and thus continue or revert back to a malnourished state. A bridge is required to join the economic and nutritional programs to create aid interventions that are sustainable past the point of donor separation.

This paper proposes the creation of a linear program model to assess the effectiveness and sustainability of such intervention programs.

Investigating the effects of merging economic and nutrition interventions as pursued in this report required the first step to be the creation of economic information for a typical small-scale farm. The region of Cochas, Imbabura, Ecuador was selected as the study area in which data would be collected for a representative sample of production and living circumstances of a poor, rural, and small-scale farmer.

A comprehensive set of estimated cost and return (enterprise) budgets for small-scale agricultural crops that could be grown by the representative farm family used in this analysis was developed. This was accomplished via data collected in rural Ecuador by Jake Erickson, a Master's student in the department of Applied Economics at Utah State University. Of the supervisory committee, daily interaction occurred with Dr. DeeVon Bailey, project supervisor, and Dr. Ruby Ward, linear program specialist, whom were crucial in project completion. Various scenarios of the linear program were run with variations to the selection of nutritional requirements, off-farm income, and allowing food purchases off the family farm. Each of these scenarios was pursued as they mimic circumstances in which families may struggle to exist within the developing world. The results of each run are compared across the set of results to help understand what assumptions need to exist to validate an intervention's approach to improving the standard of living or nutrition of the world's poor, rural, small-scale farmers.

This model is a preliminary attempt at assessing the sustainability of merging common intervention approaches and it should be recognized that further development is needed to create a more encompassing model. Utilizing enterprise budgets, a linear programming model, and nutritional information, such as is done in this study, can help in planning rural development interventions as the income maximization and least-cost diet models are integrated into one within the resource and management constraints of the representative small-scale farm.




This work made publicly available electronically on 5/2013