Farm Households’ Food Insecurity and their Coping Strategies in Arsi Negelle District, Oromia Region
This paper argues that understanding farm households’ perceptions of food security, food security status, its causes and coping strategies across wealth status and agro-ecology are prerequisites to improve food security status and coping ability. The study is based on data collected from Arsi Negele District in 2009. Both quantitative and qualitative research approaches were used. Indicators of wealth status considerably vary across Kebeles. Overall, households and community representatives felt residents are getting poorer and food insecure overtime. Female headed households were overrepresented in the poor category. Even though difference was observed in the conceptualization of food security across Kebeles, many informants relate food security to sufficiency of own produce. Of the studied households, 84.2% have experienced food shortage. Drought, variable rain, high prices of crops, rapid population growth and its associated diminishing landholding, poor work behavior and poor saving traditions were identified as the main perceived causes of food insecurity. Unlike the recent past years, the impact of drought and variable rainfall were complemented by price escalation to worsen food security situation. To minimize risks and overcome food shortage, households employed panoply of strategies (at a time and sequentially). However, households in different wealth categories employed different strategies. The relatively affluent households cope by their own, while the indigent rely mainly on fellow households, food aid and sale of environmental resources.
Key words: Farm households, Food insecurity perception, coping strategies, Arsi Negele
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