An Assessment of Factors Affecting Food Security Among Small Holder Farmers in Zambia's Chibombo District
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Food security is a basic need of every liousehold. Most of the staple food and other foods consumed in the urban are mainly produced by smallholder farmers. The main objective of this study was to assess the factors that affect food security among smallholder farmers in Chitanda. The hypothesis was that smallholders are vulnerable to food insecurity despite collectively producing most of the food consumed by the majority of the population. The explanatory variables considered were age of household head, sex of household head, education level, household size, off-farm income, farmer input support, size of land owned, production assets, access to nearest surface road, storage chemicals and cooperation in acquisition of inputs with the dependent variable being food security. A total of 150 smallholder farmers were sampled and interviewed using a self administered questionnaire. The data was coded and entered using SPSS.A probit regression analysis, ran in STATA, was used to explain the relationship between food security and the independent variables by use of marginal effects. The results showed that the coefficient of determination (R-squared), the proportion of variation in dependent variable explained by independent variables was 22%. The model also showed that farming experience, input support, household size and production assets were important in contributing to food security among households. Holding other variables constant, a one year increase in the farming experience would increase the probability of food security by 3%. Likewise, holding other variables constant, an increase in household size by one member would increase the probability of food security by 5%. A percentage increase in assistance with farm input support would increase the probability of food security by 2.3% and a percentage increase in production assets would increase the probability of food security by a small margin of 0.73%. Extension education should be directed towards encouraging the smallholder households to engage in income generating activities to increase their financial security as well as food security. Similar future studies should be done with larger sample sizes as well as using multi-method approaches in both data collection and analysis.
The University of Zambia
- Agriculture