A multi-country assessment of factors related to smallholder food security in varying rainfall conditions
Given that smallholder farmers are frequently food insecure and rely significantly on rain-fed agriculture, it is critical to examine climate variability and food insecurity. We utilize data from smallholder farmer surveys from 12 countries with 30 years of rainfall data to examine how rainfall variability and household resources are correlated with food security. We find that on average, households that experienced a drier than average year are 3.81 months food insecure, while households within a normal range of rainfall were 3.67 months food insecure, and wetter than average households were 2.86 months food insecure. Reduced odds of food insecurity is associated with agricultural inputs, ownership of livestock, water use efficiency, financial services, and participation in a group. However, in drier than average households, financial services as compared to agricultural inputs and agroecological practices have a greater prevalence of reduced instances of food insecurity, while agricultural inputs are more common for reduced food insecurity in wetter than average households. Only the use of fertilizer consistently results in reduced odds of food insecurity across all households regardless of rainfall, demonstrating that one-size fits all approaches to food security interventions are likely ineffective, and place-specific interventions considering climatic factors are critically important.
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Niles, M.T., Brown, M.E. A multi-country assessment of factors related to smallholder food security in varying rainfall conditions. Sci Rep 7, 16277 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41598-017-16282-9
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