Analysis of food insecurity coping strategies among farming households in Osun area of southwestern Nigeria
The objective of this paper is to measure coping strategies as a food insecurity indicator among farming households in Osun area of southwestern Nigeria. Data for the study were collected from 400 farming households in the area. Households were classified into three categories vis-à-vis food secure, food insecure without hunger and food insecure with hunger. About 26% of the households are food secure, 66% are food insecure without hunger while 8% percent are food insecure with hunger. Food insecurity among the sampled households could be blamed on a number of factors known as food insecurity risks. These include: - seasonal or unforeseen employment (71%), lack of cash to buy food (65%), food shortage prior to harvest (58%), low production level (55%) and wastage due to inadequate storage facilities (53%). Other measures taken by household in ensuring food security include collecting wild fruits, working in exchange for cash, selling of livestock to buy food, eating seed retained for planting and short-term labour migration. Coping strategies that were identified in the study area include reducing or rationing consumption, eating food that are less preferred and less expensive, limiting portion size, borrowing food or money to buy food, maternal buffering, skipping meals and increase reliance on wild food. Relying on less preferred and less expensive foods is the most common strategy, followed by Rationing money to household members to buy street foods, Skipping meals, limiting portions at meal times, Maternal buffering, and borrowing money to buy food. Children skipping meals is the least frequent, followed by; relying on help from relatives or friends outside household and purchasing food on credit respectively.
Keyword: Coping Strategies, Food Insecurity, Farming households, Africa