Rediscovering millet and sorghum: the implications of expanding orphan crops in the Malawian diet

Myriam Faucher*, C Revoredo-Giha

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review


This paper aims to gain a better understanding of the nutritional role of the so-called “orphan crops” in Malawian diets by investigating the implications of expanding their consumption while considering consumer preferences. This study used a model with an adapted version of the microeconomic consumer problem augmented with a linear nutritional constraint. Simulations explored the nutritional impact of increasing alternative cereals (i.e., pearl millet, finger millet, and sorghum) consumption for two Malawian groups (i.e., rural and urban) on the entire diet. A shift towards alternative cereals would increase intake of calories, proteins, and some minerals among other nutrients for both groups. However, results show that the consumption of some vitamins would slightly decrease and that the urban population is already meeting their daily-recommended calorie intake. Given current dietary preferences, the results also indicated that increasing the quantity of alternative cereals in the diet would require substantial price-cuts with the mean adequacy ratio indicator only showing a slight nutritional improvement. These results suggest that supply-side initiatives, which wish to increase orphan crop productivity without ensuring changes on the demand-side, would most likely not promote the crops in the diet very well.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
Publication statusPrint publication - 23 Sept 2019
Event6th African Conference of Agricultural Economists - Abuja, Nigeria
Duration: 23 Sept 201926 Sept 2019


Conference6th African Conference of Agricultural Economists


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