Food security in rural sub-Saharan Africa: a household level assessment

S. Fraval, S.J. Oosting, I.J.M. de Boer, Mats Lannerstad, M.T. van Wijk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingAbstract


Rural households in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are both vulnerable to the health burdens that stem from food insecurity and central to improving the availability and affordability of food. In order to understand the occurrence of food insecurity in rural landholding households, this study draws on 6,353 Household interviews, conducted in eight SSA countries. Multiple indicators of food security were enumerated alongside farm and socio-economic variables. As many as 38% of households were classified as chronically hungry in the months of food scarcity. Prevalence of micronutrient dietary gaps were high, ranging from 40% of households lacking daily sources of vitamin B6, to 73% lacking daily sources of calcium. Chronic and hidden hunger were associated with market participation, livestock product diversity, crop product diversity and gross income, where the direction of association differed by agro-ecological zone (AEZ). These livelihood characteristics – in isolation – had limited impact on food security indicators. Rather, it is the combination of these livelihood characteristics and AEZ that drive food security status throughout the year.The high prevalence of food insecurity and the complexity of associations have implications for developing effective nutrition specific and nutrition sensitive interventions. Interventions need to be tailored to agroecological zone, household composition, scale of operation and production mix. Increasing income will not necessarily result in improved diet diversity or healthy dietary choices. Interventions focused on income generation can maximise nutritional impact by promoting crop and livestock production diversity and by providing nutrition education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTrade-offs in Science - Keeping the Balance
Subtitle of host publication Abstracts of the WIAS Science Day 2019
PublisherWageningen University & Research
Publication statusPublished - 18 Mar 2019
EventWIAS Science Day 2019: Trade-Offs in Science - Congrescentrum de Werelt, Lunteren, Netherlands
Duration: 18 Mar 201918 Mar 2019


ConferenceWIAS Science Day 2019
Abbreviated titleKeeping the Balance


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