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Assessment of food insecurity and coping mechanisms among pastoral households of Afar national regional state: The case of Chifra district, Ethiopia

Indris Sirajea
Adam Bekeleb


Inspired by the current vulnerability of pastoral households, this study was carried out in Chifra district of Afar National Regional State; Ethiopia, with specific objectives of assessing the status of food security, the local food insecurity coping strategies employed by different food security status groups and identifying the major determinants of food insecurity. In order to achieve these objectives cross-sectional data on demographic and socio-economic characteristics, and institutional aspects were collected from 120 households that were drawn by a multi-stage sampling procedure from 3 randomly selected Pastoral Kebeles through structured interview schedule and focus group discussion during January and February 2011. The main tools of analysis for this study include descriptive and inferential statistics and binary logit econometric model. Results of descriptive and inferential statistics indicate that using the calorie intake approach, 65.8% of sample respondents were food insecure, while 34.2% were food secure. Further analysis showed that sale of sheep and goats (shoats), reducing number and size of meals; seasonal migration (some of the family members), receiving food aid and borrowing cash or food from neighbors or relatives were the frequently practiced copping strategies by pastoralists of the study district. On the other hand, analysis of the logistic regression model resulted in eight statistically significant variables affecting the food security status of the sampled households in the district. Family size, age of household head, dependency ratio, livestock disease incidence were causing food insecurity whereas sex of household head, herd size, income from livestock production and non-farm income were working against food insecurity. The study recommends that appropriate policy measures be taken towards limiting dependent population size through integrated and accessible health and education services, improving the contribution of the pastoralist women through trainings that could help remove cultural barriersand supporting the livestock sector through proper forage development as well as extended veterinary service and disease control programs.

Keywords: Pastoral household; food insecurity; coping mechanisms; Chifra district; Ethiopia

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2415-2382
print ISSN: 0257-2605