Households and food security: lessons from food secure households in East Africa
Carlos, Quiros F.
Cristina, Rufino Mariana
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Background: What are the key factors that contribute to household-level food security? What lessons can we learn from food secure households? What agricultural options and management strategies are likely to benefit femaleheaded households in particular? This paper addresses these questions using a unique dataset of 600 households that allows us to explore a wide range of indicators capturing different aspects of performance and well-being for different types of households—female-headed, male-headed, food secure, food insecure—and assess livelihoods options and strategies and how they influence food security. The analysis is based on a detailed farm household survey carried out in three sites in Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Results: Our results suggest that food insecurity may not be more severe for female-headed households than maleheaded households. We found that food secure farming households have a wider variety of crops on their farms and are more market oriented than are the food insecure. More domestic assets do not make female-headed households more food secure. For the other categories of assets (livestock, transport, and productive), we did not find evidence of a correlation with food security. Different livelihood portfolios are being pursued by male versus female-headed households, with female-headed households less likely to grow high-value crops and more likely to have a less diversified crop portfolio. Conclusions: These findings help identify local, national and regional policies and actions for enhancing food security of female-headed as well as male-headed households. These include interventions that improve households’ access to information, e.g., though innovative communication and knowledge-sharing efforts and support aimed at enhancing women’s and men’s agricultural market opportunities.
- Agriculture