Climate Change and Variability: Implications for Household Food Security in Agro-pastoral Areas of Jigjiga District, Eastern Ethiopia
Ethiopia is one of the most vulnerable countries of the world to the impacts of climate change and variability. The impact is even stronger in pastoral areas of the country. However, studies on the actual climate change dynamics and its effect on food security at local and household levels are limited. The present study took Jigjiga district as a case and analyzed changes in local climate; status of household food security; the relative significance of climate related causes of food insecurity; and household level determinants of food security. The study used rainfall and temperature data from the period 1952 to 2010 and primary data gathered from 140 sample households and focus group discussions. Using Mann-Kendall trend test, the study revealed the existence of statistically significant declining trend in rainfall in the rainy season and increasing trend in temperature at annual and seasonal time scale. Moreover, respondents confirmed the presence of climate change, with increasing temperature, decreasing rainfall amount and increasing seasonality of rainfall in the past two decades. The Rash model estimation result based on the Food Security Core Module showed high prevalence of food insecurity in the district with 81 per cent of food insecure households consisting of 27 per cent food insecure without hunger, 29 per cent food insecure with moderate hunger, and 25 per cent food insecure with severe hunger. Respondents ranked climate factors as their top most important causes of food insecurity. These are drought, low annual rainfall, high temperature, and water shortage. The econometric model estimation result revealed the important factors determining household food security. These are household perception of climate change, use of soil and water conservation practices, use of livestock feed management techniques, loss of livestock due to drought and/or disease, literacy level of household head, and dependency ratio. Among other things, the study suggested improving climate change awareness and strengthening the existing adaptation measures that have positive impacts on food security.
Keywords: climate change, climate variability, adaptation measures, food security, agro-pastoralism.