Sustainability Science

, Volume 11, Issue 2, pp 193–214 | Cite as

Investigating the sensitivity of household food security to agriculture-related shocks and the implication of social and natural capital

  • Byela Tibesigwa
  • Martine Visser
  • Mark Collinson
  • Wayne Twine
Original Article
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Climate Change Mitigation, Adaption, and Resilience

Abstract

This paper examines the impact of agriculture-related shocks on consumption patterns of rural farming households using 3 years of data from South Africa. We make two key observations. First, agriculture-related shocks reduce households’ consumption. Second, natural resources and informal social capital somewhat counteract this reduction and sustain dietary requirements. In general, our findings suggest the promotion of informal social capital and natural resources as they are cheaper and more accessible coping strategies, in comparison to, for example, insurance, which remains unaffordable in most rural parts of sub-Saharan Africa. However, a lingering concern centres on the sustainability of these less conventional adaptation strategies.

Keywords

Food security Natural capital Social capital Weather-related crop failure 

References

  1. Akresh R, Verwimp P, Bundervoet T (2011) Civil war, crop failure and child stunting in Rwanda. Econ Dev Cult Chang 59(4):777–810CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhandari H, Yasunobu K (2009) What is social capital? A comprehensive review of the concept. Asian J Soc Sci 37(3):480–510CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Birhanu A, Zeller M (2009) Using panel data to estimate the effects of rainfall shocks on smallholder food security and vulnerability in rural Ethiopia. Centre for Agriculture in the Tropics and Subtropics, Discussion Paper No. 2/2009Google Scholar
  4. Brown A, Lyons M, Dankoco I (2010) Street traders and the emerging spaces for urban voice and citizenship in African cities. Urban Stud 47(3):666–683Google Scholar
  5. Burton I, Development Programme United Nations (2005) Adaptation policy frameworks for climate change. In: Lim B (ed) Developing strategies, policies and measures, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, p 258Google Scholar
  6. Carter M, Maluccio J (2003) Social capital and coping with economic shocks: an analysis of stunting of South African children. World Develop 31(7):1147–1163CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cavatassi R, Lipper L, Narloch U (2011) Modern variety adaptation and risk management in drought prone areas: insights from the sorghum farmers of eastern Ethiopia. Agric Econ 42:279–292CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Christiansen L, Subbarao K (2005) Towards an understanding of household vulnerability in rural Kenya. J Afr Econ 14(4):520–558CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Claro RM, Levy RB, Bandoni DH, Mondini L (2010) Per capita versus adult-equivalent estimates of calorie availability in household budget surveys. Cad de Saúde Pública 26(11):2188–2195CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Coleman J (1988) Social capital in the creation of human capital. Am J Sociol 94:S95–S120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Danes S, Winter M, Whiteford MB (1987) Level of living and participation in the informal market sector among rural Honduran women. J Marriage Fam 631–639Google Scholar
  12. DEA (2011) South Africa’s second national communication under the United Nations framework convention on climate change. Department of Environmental Affairs (DEA), Republic of South Africa, PretoriaGoogle Scholar
  13. Dercon S (2004) Growth and shocks: evidence from rural Ethiopia. J Dev Econ 74:309–329CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Dercon S, Krishnan P (2000) Vulnerability, seasonality and poverty in Ethiopia. J Dev Stud 36(6):25–53CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Deressa T, Hassan R, Ringler C, Alemu T, Yesuf M (2009) Determinants of farmers’ choice of adaptation methods to climate change in the Nile Basin of Ethiopia. Glob Environ Chang 19:248–255CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Di Falco S, Bulte E (2009) Social capital and weather shocks in Ethiopia: climate change and culturally-induced poverty traps. London School of Economics, Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  17. Dillon A (2012) Child labour and schooling responses to production and health shocks in northern Mali. J Afr Econ 22(2):276–299CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Dinkelman T (2013) Mitigating long-run health effects of drought: evidence from South Africa (No. w19756). National Bureau of Economic ResearchGoogle Scholar
  19. Dinkelman T, Lam D, Leibbrandt M (2008) Linking poverty and income shocks to risky sexual behaviour: evidence from a panel study of young adults in Cape Town. S Afr J Econ 76(1):S52–S74CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Duryea S, Lam D, Levison D (2007) Effects of economic shocks on children’s employment and schooling in Brazil. J Dev Econ 84:188–214CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Ellis F, Freeman H (2004) Rural livelihoods and poverty reduction strategies in four African countries. J Dev Stud 40(4):1–30CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Eriksen S, Aldunce P, Bahinipati CS, Martins RDA, Molefe JI, Nhemachena C, O’Brien K, Olorunfemi F, Park J, Sygna L, Ulsrud K (2011) When not every response to climate change is a good one: identifying principles for sustainable adaptation. Clim Devt 3(1):7–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. FAO (2008) Climate change and food security: a framework document. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, RomeGoogle Scholar
  24. Figuié M, Moustier P (2009) Market appeal in an emerging economy: supermarkets and poor consumers in Vietnam. Food Policy 34(2):210–217CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gilbert G, McLeman R (2010) Household access to capital and its effects on drought adaptation and migration: a case study of rural Alberta in the 1930s. Popul Environ 32:3–26CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Goudge J, Russell S, Gilson L, Gumede T (2009a) Illness-related impoverishment in rural South Africa: why does social protection work for some households but not others? J Int Dev 21:231–251CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Goudge J, Gilson L, Russell S, Gumede T, Mills A (2009b) Affordability, availability and acceptability barriers to heath care for the chronically ill: longitudinal case studies from South Africa. BMC Health Serv Res 9(75):1–18Google Scholar
  28. Greene W (2002) Econometric analysis, 5th edn. Prentice-Hall, Upper Saddle RiverGoogle Scholar
  29. Hellmuth M, Moorhead A, Thomson M, Williams J (eds) (2007) Climate risk management in africa: learning from practice. International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), Columbia University, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  30. Hofferth S, Iceland J (1998) Social capital in rural and urban communities. Rural Sociol 63(4):574–598CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Hunter L, Twine W, Patterson L (2007) Locusts are now our beef: adult mortality and household dietary use of local environmental resources in rural South Africa. Scand J Public Health 35(3):165–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hunter L, Patterson L, Twine W (2009) HIV/AIDS, food security and the role of the natural environment: evidence from the Agincourt Health and Demographic Surveillance Site in rural South Africa. IBS Population Program POP2009-01Google Scholar
  33. IPCC (2007) Climate change 2007: impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Summary for policy makers. World Meteorological Organisation, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  34. IPCC (2014) Climate change 2014: impacts, adaptation, and vulnerability, Part A: global and sectoral aspects. Contribution of working group II to the fifth assessment report of the intergovernmental Panel on Climate ChangeGoogle Scholar
  35. Kahn K, Collinson MA, Gomez-Olive FX, Mokoena O, Twine R, Mee P, Tollman SM (2012) Profile: Agincourt Health and Socio-demographic Surveillance System. Int J Epidemiol 41(4):988–1001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kashula S (2008) Wild foods and household food security responses to AIDS: evidence from South Africa. Popul Environ 29(3–5):169–185Google Scholar
  37. Kirkland T, Hunter LM, Twine W (2007) The bush is no more: insights on institutional change and natural resource availability in rural South Africa. Soc Nat Res 20(4):337–350CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Knowler D, Bradshaw B (2007) Farmers’ adoption of conservation agriculture: a review and synthesis of recent research. Food Policy 32(1):25–48CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Kochar A (1995) Explaining household vulnerability to idiosyncratic income shocks. Am Econ Rev 85(2):159–164Google Scholar
  40. Kotir JH (2011) Climate change and variability in sub-Saharan Africa: a review of current and future trends and impacts on agriculture and food security. Environ Dev Sustain 13(3):587–605CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Lippman S, Maman S, MacPhail C, Twine R, Peacock D, Kahn K, Pettifor A (2013) Conceptualising community mobilisation for HIV prevention: implication for HIV prevention programming in the African context. PLOS 8(10):1–13Google Scholar
  42. Lovell S (2009) Social capital: the panacea for community? Geogr Compass 3(2):781–796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McGarry D, Shackleton C (2009) Children navigating rural poverty: rural children’s use of wild resources to counteract food insecurity in the eastern Cape, South Africa. J Child Poverty 15(1):19–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Mirza M (2003) Climate change and extreme weather events: can developing countries adapt?. Clim policy 3(3):233–248CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Misselhorn A (2009) Is a focus on social capital useful in considering food security interventions? Insights from KwaZulu-Natal. Dev South Afr 26:189–208CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Mogues T (2006) Shocks, livestock asset dynamics and social capital in Ethiopia. DSGD discussion papers, No. 38Google Scholar
  47. Nelson G (2010) The costs of agricultural adaptation to climate change. World Bank Discussion Paper, No. 4Google Scholar
  48. Nhemachena C, Hassan R, Chikwizira J (2010) Economic impacts of climate change on agriculture and implications for food security in Southern Africa. Centre for Environmental Economics and Policy in Africa (CEEPA)Google Scholar
  49. Omolo N (2010) Gender and climate change-induced conflict in pastoral communities: case study of Turkana in northwestern Kenya. Afr J Confl Resolut Environ Confl 10(2):81–102Google Scholar
  50. Osbahr H, Twyman C, Adger W, Thomas D (2010) Evaluating successful livelihood adaptation to climate variability and change in Southern Africa. Ecol Soc 15(2):27Google Scholar
  51. Pichler F, Wallace C (2007) Patterns of formal and informal social capital in Europe. Eur Sociol Rev 23(4):423–435CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Porter C (2011) Shocks, consumption and income diversification in rural Ethiopia. J Dev Stud 48(9):1209–1222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Putnam R (2001) Social capital: measurement and consequences. Can J Policy Res 2(1):41–51Google Scholar
  54. Reid P, Vogel C (2006) Living and responding to multiple stressors in South Africa—glimpse from KwaZulu-Natal. Glob Environ Chang 16:195–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Salvatori D, Chavas J (2008) Rainfall shocks, resilience and the effects of crop biodiversity on agro-ecosystems productivity. Land Econ 84(1):83–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Shackleton C, Shackleton S (2004) The importance of non-timber forest products in rural livelihood security and as safety nets: a review of evidence from South Africa. S Afr J Sci 100(11–12):658–664Google Scholar
  57. Shackleton SE, Dzerefos CM, Shackleton CM, Mathabela FR, Shackleton ASE (1998) Use and trading of wild edible herbs in the central lowveld savanna region, South Africa. Econ Bot 52(3):251–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Shields J, Fletcher D (2013) What smallholder sweet potato farmers are doing to adapt to a changing climate: evidence from six agro-ecological zones of Uganda. Eur J Clim Chang 10:2668–3784Google Scholar
  59. Shisana O, Labadarios D, Rehle T, Simbayi L, Zuma K (2014) South African National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (SANHANES-1), 2014th edn. HSRC Press, Cape TownGoogle Scholar
  60. Tesso G, Emana B, Ketema M (2012) Analysis of vulnerability and resilience to climate change induced shocks in North Shewa, Ethiopia. Agric Sci 3(6):871–888Google Scholar
  61. Tibesigwa B, Visser M (2015) Small-scale subsistence farming, food security, climate change and adaptation in South Africa: male-female headed households and Urban-Rural Nexus (No. 527)Google Scholar
  62. Tibesigwa B, Visser M, Turpie J (2015) The impact of climate change on net revenue and food adequacy of subsistence farming households in South Africa. Environ Develop Econ 20(3):327–353CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Twine W (2005) Socio-economic transitions influence vegetation change in the communal rangelands of the South African lowveld. Afr J Range Forage Sci 22(2):93–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Twine W, Hunter L (2011) Adult mortality and household food security in rural South Africa: does AIDS represent a unique mortality shock? Dev South Afr 28(4):431–444CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Twine W, Moshe D, Netshiluvhi T, Siphugu V (2003) Consumption and direct-use values of savannah bio-resources used by rural households in Mametja, a semi-arid area of Limpopo province, South Africa. S Afr J Sci 99:467–473Google Scholar
  66. Wallace C, Pichler F (2009) More participation, happier Society? A comparative study of civil society and the quality of life. Soc Indic Res 93(2):255–274CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Yamano T, Alderman H, Christiansen L (2005) Child growth, shocks and food aid in rural Ethiopia. Am J Agric Econ 87(2):273–288CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Japan 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Byela Tibesigwa
    • 1
  • Martine Visser
    • 1
  • Mark Collinson
    • 2
    • 3
  • Wayne Twine
    • 4
  1. 1.Environmental-Economics Policy Research Unit, School of EconomicsUniversity of Cape TownCape TownSouth Africa
  2. 2.MRC/Wits University Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa
  3. 3.INDEPTH NetworkAccraGhana
  4. 4.School of Animal, Plant and Environmental SciencesUniversity of the WitwatersrandJohannesburgSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations