INCOME AND NUTRITIONAL OUTCOMES IN RWANDA’S RURAL AREAS, 1990 AND 2000*

Year published: 10/02/2005

This Policy Synthesis

examines the evidence on changes in household

income and consumption to understand the

apparent paradox of improving child nutrition

indicators during a period of extreme and

increasing poverty and vulnerability among the

poorest households. While households in the

three poorest categories demonstrated lower total

incomes compared to the poorest categories in

1990, the poorest households also shifted their

agricultural production out of cash crops and

dedicated more land to cropping food staples.

More of those staples were then consumed at

home, rather than marketed, leading to nutritional

improvements.

The long term trend, however, indicates that

ever-declining land area per person will limit

how far households can go with this strategy,

such that growth in off-farm income potential is

critical for these households to find a path to

growth and long term improvements in income

and welfare. Yet for off-farm income potential

for these households to grow, there needs to be

increasing demands for the goods and services

they could produce. Measures to increase

incomes in rural areas as a whole, are likely to

play a key role in creating this demand