Households and food security: lessons from food secure households in East Africa.

Silvia Silvestri, Sabine Douxchamps, Patti Kristjanson, Wiebke Förch, Maren Radeny, Lanetta Mutie, F.C. Quiros, M. Herrero, Anthony Ndungu, L.F.G. Claessens

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Abstract

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 female-headed 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 male-headed 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.
Original languageEnglish
Article number23
Number of pages15
JournalAgriculture & Food Security
Volume4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2015

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    Silvestri, S., Douxchamps, S., Kristjanson, P., Förch, W., Radeny, M., Mutie, L., Quiros, F. C., Herrero, M., Ndungu, A., & Claessens, L. F. G. (2015). Households and food security: lessons from food secure households in East Africa. Agriculture & Food Security, 4, [23]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s40066-015-0042-4