Sustainable Sourcing of Fresh Fruits and Vegetables from Senegal
Rural development can be a major welfare catalyst for rural Sub-Saharan African regions, as more than 80% of the poor live in rural areas and derive their livelihoods from a limited range of (on-farm) activities. Rural development – an umbrella term for all activities, programs and strategies that target to improve the livelihoods of rural households – comprises both agricultural and non-agricultural development, and can be triggered through macro-scale market interventions and micro-scale public interventions. In more recent rural development strategies, four pillars can be distinguished: the establishment of strong empowered local institutions for governance, the development of rural labour markets and education facilities, the introduction of social (safety net) programs and the development of resilient supply chains. In this dissertation I focus on the last three, and more specifically on resilient high value supply chain development, labour market development and rural fertility.
In chapter two I descriptively investigate the Covid-19 pandemic’s early impact on the fresh fruits and vegetables supply chain in Senegal, using trade statistics and survey data collected through online questionnaires and telephone interviews with all relevant FFV supply chain actors. The results point to major differences in how Covid-19 and containment measures disrupt supply chains between the modern export-oriented supply chain and the more traditional domestic-oriented supply chain. The former shows to be more resilient to the Covid-19 shock. I show that both the modern and the traditional supply chain innovate to cope with the Covid-19 containment measures. While the study is subject to some limitations, the findings bring nuance in the debate on the resilience of food system to the pandemic, and have important policy and research implications toward international trade, social safety measures, and food and nutrition security.
In chapter three I asses conceptually and empirically the direct and indirect welfare effects of entry and continuation in different types of wage employment in the Senegal River Delta region in rural Senegal. I use panel data, fixed effects and first-difference estimation, and show substantial positive welfare and linkage effects. I find that participation in wage employment increases per capita income by 143%, and reduces poverty, poverty gap and food insecurity by, respectively, 63%, 89% and 48%. While the direct effect on income is larger for non-agricultural and contractual wage employment, the indirect income effects through self-employment are more pronounced for agricultural and casual wage employment. The results imply that job creation is important for rural development, that wage employment in agriculture can lead to considerable growth multiplier effects, and that synergies exist between large-scale and small-scale agriculture.
In chapter four I use choice experimental data that values preferences with respect to fertility (the household’s number of children) and child-raising (the education, nutrition and health care provisioning of the children), using a sample of married couples living in the SRD region in Senegal and the Mount Elgon region in Uganda. As the experiment was first implemented with both spouses separately, and repeated with the spouses jointly as couple, I am able to distinguish between individual and household choices, to analyse spouses’ preferences on fertility and child-raising, and to calculate a decision-making coefficient. The results show that the assumptions of the basic unitary household model and the practice of traditional survey-based data collections should be used in a more considerate way and interpreted with more caution. Moreover, I find that a representative mix of husbands and wives cannot substitute for choices made at the household level. The results reveal that fertility and child-raising choices of spouses are highly country-specific. This study reveals the importance of considering the adequate decision-making unit when designing family planning and child-centred programs, and to use a country- or region-specific approach.
In chapter five I use the same choice experimental data collected in Senegal and Uganda, to add to the knowledge on rural fertility preferences and the existence of a quantity-quality trade-off between the number of children and child-raising quality. I include three socio-economic drivers of fertility to the analysis: education level, poverty level and polygamy status of the relation. The results show that rural households prefer to have many children, but non-poor and monogamous respondents demonstrate a lower preference for many children than poor and polygamous respondents. I find that the quantity-quality trade-off is a two-sided story. On the one hand, for most of the quality attributes, I confirm the existence of a trade-off. On the other hand, quantity and quality are complementary when all children in the household can attain a lower secondary school diploma. The results imply that broadening the currently narrow focus on contraceptive uptake in family planning programs, and more specific targeting of such programs to people with low fertility preferences, could improve their effectiveness.
Overall this dissertation shows that an integrated approach to rural development must include both macro-scale market interventions and micro-scale public interventions. First, macro-scale market interventions are needed to incentivise overall economic growth and rural labour market expansion. These interventions need to target rural areas, the agricultural sector and unskilled labour to optimise the inclusion of the poor. Second, if rural population growth is to be reduced drastically in the coming decades in SSA – which is a highly necessary prerequisite for economic growth to contribute to rural development – well-targeted and well-defined micro-scale public interventions are needed in rural areas.