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Livelihood strategies and household resilience to food insecurity: insight from a farming community in Aguie district of Niger

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Abstract

Niger is regularly affected by food insecurity, mainly due to the high sensitivity of its agricultural sector to climate variability. Despite the support from multiple development institutions and households’ willingness to address food security, hunger and malnutrition continue to challenge many vulnerable households. This study aims to analyze household livelihood strategies toward food security and assess factors determining their resilience. To address the issue, cluster analysis and the principal component analysis were used to identify the different livelihood strategies and to construct a resilience index, respectively. Regression analysis was used to identify the most significant factors determining households’ resilience. The results indicate there were six different household types—pastoralist-extensive agriculturalists, farmers, agro-pastoralists, public service employees, entrepreneurs and wage employees—however, the majority of households obtained their livelihood from both agriculture and livestock (agro-pastoral systems). The principal component analysis highlighted that the pastoralist-extensive agriculturalists are the most resilient followed by public service employees, while households focused on wage labor are the least resilient, followed by entrepreneurs. In terms of gender, the study reveals that households headed by men are more resilient than those headed by women. However, the resilience components including income and food access, assets and adaptive capacity are the most correlated with the households’ resilience to food insecurity. Furthermore, the regression analysis results reveal that the household size, crop production, farming experience, livestock size and number of coping strategies are the most significant factors determining household resilience to food insecurity. Consequently, to face the challenges of climate change and food security, rational investments in agriculture are necessary to transit rural household land-use practices to climate-smart agriculture.

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Abbreviations

A:

Assets

ABS:

Access to basic services

AC:

Adaptive capacity

ICRAF:

International Centre of Research in Agroforestry

IFA:

Income and food access

IFAD:

International Fund for Agricultural Development

R:

Resilience

S:

Stability

SSN:

Social safety nets

UNICEF:

United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund

UTL:

Tropical livestock units

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Acknowledgements

This study is partially supported by World Agroforestry (ICRAF), West and Central Africa Regional Office - Sahel Node, Bamako, Mali. Partial funding for the writing and analysis for the paper was provided by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the European Union Grant numbers 2000000520 and 2000000976 by the CGIAR Research Program on Grain Legume and Dryland Cereals Land (GLDC). We thank also John Meadows for proof reading and editing this paper.

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Correspondence to Abdou Matsalabi Ado.

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Appendix: Results of the sub index construction

Appendix: Results of the sub index construction

See Tables 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, and 16.

Table 11 Access to basic services
Table 12 Adaptive capacity
Table 13 Assets
Table 14 Income and food access
Table 15 Social safety nets
Table 16 Stability

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Ado, A.M., Savadogo, P. & Abdoul-Azize, H.T. Livelihood strategies and household resilience to food insecurity: insight from a farming community in Aguie district of Niger. Agric Hum Values 36, 747–761 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10460-019-09951-0

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