Food security and erractic weather coping strategies of small scale farmers in rural Kitwe-Zambia

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Musumali, Musule Mwila
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Small scale farmers produce 65% of the maize that constitutes national production (MAFF-1996) Although they contribute such a large percentage to National Food availability, their individual household food availability is constrained by space a number of factors, one of which is rainfall. The aim of the study is to analyse the influence of rainfall on crop productivity and the strategies they employ to reduced the impact of erratic climate, rainfall in particular. In additions, the aim is to investigate the strategies the farmers employ to ensure that they have access to food year round. In order to achieve these objectives, the study made use of the following data collection methods. Questionnaires for obtaining information relating to crop productivity in specified seasons (1988/89, 1991/92, 1999/95, 1997/98), the influence of rainfall and the strategies employed to reduce impact on field output. In addition the strategies employed to ensure food security at household level year round and the general nature of the constraints that hinder the attainment of food security. Interviews were conducted with MAFF officials for the purpose of obtaining information on the ways in which farmers are assisted with respect to ensuring their food security. The interval sampling method was used to obtain a sample from a population of small scale farmers in Luongo agricultural camp. The study established that the food security status of the small scale farmers varies from season to season, dependant on the nature of the seasonal harvest, which is affected, among other factors, by the nature of the rain season. The farmers in an attempt to ensure their food security have adopted the strategy of diversifying their income and food sources through a variety of both off-farm and on-farm activities. In addition they take measures to reduce the impute of erotic climate in their crop yields.These strategies serve to make them less vulnerable to food insecurity.
Food security , Small-scale farmers