Changing Access to Nutritious Diets in Africa and South Asia (CANDASA): Using new price indexes to measure food system change in Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and India

Collaborating institutions: Tufts University (Boston) and IFPRI (Washington, Addis, Delhi), with academic partners in Ghana, Tanzania and Malawi
Start and end dates, total budget:  November 01, 2017 – June 30, 2020 ($800,000)
Principal Investigator:  William A. Masters
Locations of research:  Ghana, Tanzania, Ethiopia, Malawi and India
 
Project summary
Original research questions
  1. How do prices and availability of nutritious foods vary over time and space, relative to wages and other earnings among those most at risk of malnutrition?
  2. When and where does investment in rural infrastructure and electrification, interacting with local agroecology and farming systems, improve and stabilize access to healthy diets?
  3. Does the variation we see in price and availability of nutrient-rich foods have significant associations with nutrition outcomes, particularly stunting and women’s nutrition?
Study design
CANDASA measures changes in the food environment using local market prices, adding up the economic cost of meeting international nutrition standards at each time and place. We start with the cost of essential nutrients, complemented by newer criteria such as the cost of meeting dietary guidelines across food groups, and food price indexes weighted by nutritional profile scores. The market prices used in CANDASA research are collected for other purposes, primarily to monitor inflation and living standards at the retail level as in Consumer Price Index (CPI), and to monitor wholesale prices as in a Market Information System (MIS), but CANDASA research highlights the value of expanding price data collection to more foods whose prices are often not collected like dark green leafy vegetables.  We then use these price indexes to measure how variation in agroecological conditions, such as seasonality, interacts with public investments such as rural infrastructure to change access to nutritious diets, and how those changes alter nutrition outcomes.
 
Project resources
Publications and presentations to date, as well as project descriptions and other materials are available on the project's website, at http://sites.tufts.edu/candasa