AbstractsGeography &GIS

Determinants of rural household food security in drought-prone areas of Ethiopia : case study in Lay Gaint District, Amhara Region

by Arega Bazezew Berlie

Institution: University of South Africa
Year: 2013
Keywords: Livelihoods; SLF; Food insecurity; Vulnerability; Smallholder farmers; Perceptions; Climate change; Drought; Adaptive strategies; Lay Gaint; Amhara; Ethiopia
Record ID: 1416247
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10500/13615


This study examines rural household food security and its determinants in drought-prone Amhara Region of Ethiopia by focusing on Lay Gaint district as a case study site. A range of factors from physical environmental circumstances to policy and institutions-related issues determine households‟ vulnerability to food insecurity and livelihood outcomes. The survey results showed that the majority (74%) of the sampled households experienced food insecurity. The situation was worse among female-headed households such that 86% of them were food insecure. The study revealed that, despite the low level of productivity related to local environmental constraints, rural livelihoods remain undiversified with small scale rain-fed agriculture to provide the primary source of livelihood for the large majority of households (~93% of respondents). Only about 25% of the respondents participated in some form of non-farm or off-farm activities, but with only little contribution to their total annual incomes. Food insecurity is a chronic problem in that, on average, households in the study area consume from own production for only about six months. The study found out that the majority of households (about 80%) perceived annual rainfall to be inadequate to support the growing of crops and grazing of animals. The main adaptive strategies employed by the majority of households included diversifying livestock kept, planting trees and diversifying crops. The study revealed that incidence, depth and severity of food insecurity of the food insecure households showed that Woina-Dega and Kolla agro-ecologies are prone to vulnerability to food insecurity. This suggests that development interventions that are geographically differentiated; and build household assets will improve household food security in the study area, and in other similar environments in the country.