Drivers of household food availability in sub-Saharan Africa based on big data from small farms.
ABSTRACT: We calculated a simple indicator of food availability using data from 93 sites in 17 countries across contrasted agroecologies in sub-Saharan Africa (>13,000 farm households) and analyzed the drivers of variations in food availability. Crop production was the major source of energy, contributing 60% of food availability. The off-farm income contribution to food availability ranged from 12% for households without enough food available (18% of the total sample) to 27% for the 58% of households with sufficient food available. Using only three explanatory variables (household size, number of livestock, and land area), we were able to predict correctly the agricultural determined status of food availability for 72% of the households, but the relationships were strongly influenced by the degree of market access. Our analyses suggest that targeting poverty through improving market access and off-farm opportunities is a better strategy to increase food security than focusing on agricultural production and closing yield gaps. This calls for multisectoral policy harmonization, incentives, and diversification of employment sources rather than a singular focus on agricultural development. Recognizing and understanding diversity among smallholder farm households in sub-Saharan Africa is key for the design of policies that aim to improve food security.
Project description:The Rural Household Multiple Indicator Survey (RHoMIS) is a standardized farm household survey approach which collects information on 758 variables covering household demographics, farm area, crops grown and their production, livestock holdings and their production, agricultural product use and variables underlying standard socio-economic and food security indicators such as the Probability of Poverty Index, the Household Food Insecurity Access Scale, and household dietary diversity. These variables are used to quantify more than 40 different indicators on farm and household characteristics, welfare, productivity, and economic performance. Between 2015 and the beginning of 2018, the survey instrument was applied in 21 countries in Central America, sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. The data presented here include the raw survey response data, the indicator calculation code, and the resulting indicator values. These data can be used to quantify on- and off-farm pathways to food security, diverse diets, and changes in poverty for rural smallholder farm households.
Project description:In most of the developing countries, lack of resources and little market accessibility are among the major factors that affect small farming household food security. This study aims to investigate the status of small farming households' food security, and its determinants including the role of market accessibility factors in enhancing food security at household level. In addition, this study also determines the households' perception about different kinds of livelihoods risks. This study is based on a household survey of 576 households conducted through face-to-face interviews using structured interviews in Punjab, Pakistan. Food security status is calculated using dietary intake method. The study findings show that one-fourth of the households are food insecure. The study findings reveal that farm households perceive increase in food prices, crop diseases, lack of irrigation water and increase in health expenses as major livelihood risks. Further, the results of logistic regression show that family size, monthly income, food prices, health expenses and debt are main factors influencing the food security status of rural households. Furthermore, the market accessibility factors (road distance and transportation cost) do significantly affect the small farming household food security. The results suggest that local food security can be enhanced by creating off-farm employment opportunities, improved transportation facilities and road infrastructure.
Project description:Farmers in Africa have long adapted to climatic and other risks by diversifying their farming activities. Using a multi-scale approach, we explore the relationship between farming diversity and food security and the diversification potential of African agriculture and its limits on the household and continental scale. On the household scale, we use agricultural surveys from more than 28,000 households located in 18 African countries. In a next step, we use the relationship between rainfall, rainfall variability, and farming diversity to determine the available diversification options for farmers on the continental scale. On the household scale, we show that households with greater farming diversity are more successful in meeting their consumption needs, but only up to a certain level of diversity per ha cropland and more often if food can be purchased from off-farm income or income from farm sales. More diverse farming systems can contribute to household food security; however, the relationship is influenced by other factors, for example, the market orientation of a household, livestock ownership, nonagricultural employment opportunities, and available land resources. On the continental scale, the greatest opportunities for diversification of food crops, cash crops, and livestock are located in areas with 500-1,000 mm annual rainfall and 17%-22% rainfall variability. Forty-three percent of the African cropland lacks these opportunities at present which may hamper the ability of agricultural systems to respond to climate change. While sustainable intensification practices that increase yields have received most attention to date, our study suggests that a shift in the research and policy paradigm toward agricultural diversification options may be necessary.
Project description:Recent research has shed light on the cost-effective contribution that agriculture can make to global greenhouse gas abatement; however, the resulting impacts on agricultural production, producer livelihoods, and food security remain largely unexplored. This paper provides an integrated assessment of the linkages between land-based climate policies, development, and food security, with a particular emphasis on abatement opportunities and impacts in the livestock sector. Targeting Annex I countries and exempting non-Annex I countries from land-based carbon policies on equity or food security grounds may result in significant leakage rates for livestock production and agriculture as a whole. We find that such leakage can be eliminated by supplying forest carbon sequestration incentives to non-Annex I countries. Furthermore, substantial additional global agricultural abatement can be attained by extending a greenhouse gas emissions tax to non-Annex I agricultural producers, while compensating them for their additional tax expenses. Because of their relatively large emissions intensities and limited abatement possibilities, ruminant meat producers face the greatest market adjustments to land-based climate policies. We also evaluate the impacts of climate policies on livelihoods and food consumption in developing countries. In the absence of non-Annex I abatement policies, these impacts are modest. However, strong income and food consumption impacts surface because of higher food costs after forest carbon sequestration is promoted at a global scale. Food consumption among unskilled labor households falls but rises for the representative farm households, because global agricultural supplies are restricted and farm prices rise sharply in the face of inelastic food demands.
Project description:Potential interactions between food production and climate mitigation are explored for two situations in sub-Saharan Africa, where deforestation and land degradation overlap with hunger and poverty. Three agriculture intensification scenarios for supplying nitrogen to increase crop production (mineral fertilizer, herbaceous legume cover crops--green manures--and agroforestry--legume improved tree fallows) are compared to baseline food production, land requirements to meet basic caloric requirements, and greenhouse gas emissions. At low population densities and high land availability, food security and climate mitigation goals are met with all intensification scenarios, resulting in surplus crop area for reforestation. In contrast, for high population density and small farm sizes, attaining food security and reducing greenhouse gas emissions require mineral fertilizers to make land available for reforestation; green manure or improved tree fallows do not provide sufficient increases in yields to permit reforestation. Tree fallows sequester significant carbon on cropland, but green manures result in net carbon dioxide equivalent emissions because of nitrogen additions. Although these results are encouraging, agricultural intensification in sub-Saharan Africa with mineral fertilizers, green manures, or improved tree fallows will remain low without policies that address access, costs, and lack of incentives. Carbon financing for small-holder agriculture could increase the likelihood of success of Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries programs and climate change mitigation but also promote food security in the region.
Project description:The data used in this article elucidated crop intensification and farmers' food security status through GO-NGO support in Bangladesh. A total of 200 farmers (100 from non-supported and 100 from GO-NGO supported) were selected for data collection using purposive sampling technique. The collected data showed that GO-NGO support has a significant impact on changes in agricultural enterprises. Majority (63.3%) of the households belong to the low intensity category for non-supported farmers. In case of GO-NGO supported farmers, majority (73.3%) of the households belong to the high intensity category. The food security indices values showed that the food security index for non-supported farm households was 0.97 and for GO-NGO supported farm households, it was 1.07.
Project description:Without enforced standards or reliable third-party verification, food safety threats such as pesticide residues and aflatoxin contamination are generally unobservable or only partially observable to both buyers and sellers, especially of staple foods in rural maize markets in sub-Saharan Africa. As a result, sellers have more information about food quality than do buyers. Such information asymmetries can impede market development and undermine human health. We study farm household behaviour in the context of imperfect food safety information. We pool observations obtained from 707 food storage containers maintained by 309 farm households in Benin, surveyed following the maize harvests of 2011/2012 and 2013/2014. Our results indicate that when a household perceives a food safety risk associated with application of insecticides, on average it is 33 percentage points less likely to apply insecticides to maize it intends to consume than it is to maize it intends to sell. These individuals are also more likely to sell maize than households without food safety concerns. Results highlight the potential value of improved storage technologies and quality control to promote market transactions and reduce hidden health risks.
Project description:BACKGROUND: In Sub-Saharan Africa, 40% of children under five years in age are chronically undernourished. As new investments and attention galvanize action on African agriculture to reduce hunger, there is an urgent need for metrics that monitor agricultural progress beyond calories produced per capita and address nutritional diversity essential for human health. In this study we demonstrate how an ecological tool, functional diversity (FD), has potential to address this need and provide new insights on nutritional diversity of cropping systems in rural Africa. METHODS AND FINDINGS: Data on edible plant species diversity, food security and diet diversity were collected for 170 farms in three rural settings in Sub-Saharan Africa. Nutritional FD metrics were calculated based on farm species composition and species nutritional composition. Iron and vitamin A deficiency were determined from blood samples of 90 adult women. Nutritional FD metrics summarized the diversity of nutrients provided by the farm and showed variability between farms and villages. Regression of nutritional FD against species richness and expected FD enabled identification of key species that add nutrient diversity to the system and assessed the degree of redundancy for nutrient traits. Nutritional FD analysis demonstrated that depending on the original composition of species on farm or village, adding or removing individual species can have radically different outcomes for nutritional diversity. While correlations between nutritional FD, food and nutrition indicators were not significant at household level, associations between these variables were observed at village level. CONCLUSION: This study provides novel metrics to address nutritional diversity in farming systems and examples of how these metrics can help guide agricultural interventions towards adequate nutrient diversity. New hypotheses on the link between agro-diversity, food security and human nutrition are generated and strategies for future research are suggested calling for integration of agriculture, ecology, nutrition, and socio-economics.
Project description:As the production of non-traditional export (NTX) crops by smallholder households in developing countries expands, there is a compelling need to understand the potential effects of this type of agricultural production on household food security and nutrition. We use two household surveys with a sample of 52 households, interviews, and focus groups to examine whether smallholder farmers who produce broccoli for export in a rural Guatemalan community have different household food security than farmers in the same community who are still growing traditional maize and bean crops. We explore and compare the food security status of broccoli farmers (adopters) and traditional farmers (non-adopters) across four dimensions of food security: availability, access, utilization, and stability. Adopters earned significantly more income (40%) than non-adopters, but higher incomes did not coincide with improvements in food availability, food access, or food utilization. Results indicate that adopters and non-adopters alike struggle with access to food, while the intensity of broccoli production may be undermining the ability of local agricultural systems to naturally control pests and regulate nutrients. More systematic approaches to food security assessment, especially those that consider all four dimensions of food security, are needed to better target interventions designed to alleviate food insecurity among rural smallholders.
Project description:Livestock production and trade are critical for the food security and welfare of rural households in sub-Saharan Africa. In Cameroon, animal trade consists mainly of live cattle commercialized through livestock markets. Identifying the factors contributing to cattle price formation is critical for designing effective policies for sustainable production and for increasing food availability. In this study, we evaluated the influence of a range of individual- and market-level factors on the price of cattle that were sold in all transactions (n?=?118,017) recorded over a 12-month period from 31 livestock markets in the main cattle production area of the country. An information-theoretic approach using a generalized additive mixed-effect model was implemented to select the best explanatory model as well as evaluate the robustness of the identified drivers and the predictive ability of the model. The age and gender of the cattle traded were consistently found to be important drivers of the price (p?<?0.01). Also, strong, but complex, relationships were found between cattle prices and both local human and bovine population densities. Finally, the model highlighted a positive association between the number of incoming trading connections of a livestock market and the price of the traded live cattle (p?<?0.01). Although our analysis did not account for factors informing on specific phenotypic traits nor breed characteristics of cattle traded, nearly 50% of the observed variation in live cattle prices was explained by the final model. Ultimately, our model gives a large scale overview of drivers of cattle price formation in Cameroon and to our knowledge is the first study of this scale in Central Africa. Our findings represent an important milestone in designing efficient and sustainable animal health management programme in Cameroon and ensure livelihood sustainability for rural households.