Skip to main content

Assessing the food security outcomes of industrial crop expansion in smallholder settings: insights from cotton production in Northern Ghana and sugarcane production in Central Ethiopia

Abstract

The current industrial crop (IC) expansion in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) may have important ramifications for food security. This study proposes a rapid appraisal method that can capture the food security outcomes of IC expansion in smallholder settings in SSA. A key element of this approach is a common unit of household caloric intake that captures food security across its four pillars (availability, access, utilization, stability). This approach also considers the role of women in household food security. The proposed approach is tested in two radically different smallholder IC settings: cotton production in Northern Ghana and sugarcane production in Central Ethiopia.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1

Source: (OCHA 2013; Ghana Statistical Service 2014a)

Fig. 2

Notes

  1. The “availability” and “stability” pillars were introduced at the first World Food Conference in Rome (1974), just after a major food crisis where international prices of grains quadrupled (Headey and Fan 2010; Joerin and Joerin 2013). These pillars reflected the main concern of ensuring “enough” food and a “stable” food supply (FAO 2008a; Vink 2012). The “access” pillar was incorporated later (FAO 1983) after observing that despite the Green Revolution, there was still famine among vulnerable groups across the developing world (Cleaver 1972; Dasgupta 1977; Napoli 2011). This pillar was inspired by Amartya Sen’s entitlement views towards famine and hunger (Burchi and De Muro 2016). The “utilization” pillar emerged in the early 1990 s as global food security concerns shifted to the level of the individual, highlighting the relevance of general hygiene, water quality, and sanitation to take full advantage of the food consumed (FAO 1996, 2003).

  2. Food availability refers to the presence of food from one’s own production or received as a gift, while access indicates the ability to purchase sufficient quantities of food (Coates et al. 2007; Schmidhuber and Tubiello 2007; Vink 2012).

  3. Food utilization considers food safety and quality, including proper sanitary conditions across the entire food chain (Coates et al. 2007; Schmidhuber and Tubiello 2007; Wu et al. 2011; Vink 2012).

  4. Food instability reflects the risk of losing access to the resources needed to consume adequate food in the short- and long-term. These risks can be attributed to several factors such as price increases and fluctuations in food supply (Schmidhuber and Tubiello 2007; Wu et al. 2011; Tibesigwa and Visser 2016).

  5. The MDER represents the minimum amount of dietary energy per person (based on age and gender) to meet the energy needs at a minimum acceptable body mass index, adjusted for each country population characteristics (FAO et al. 2015). This study uses the national MDER as a reference point to estimate undernourishment (FAO 2008b), (i.e., 1750 kcal/day in Ethiopia and 1790 kcal/day in Ghana).

  6. In Ghana, the national prevalence of undernourishment is estimated to be less than 5% (FAO et al. 2015). The incidence of poverty is 70% in Sissala West, which has the highest incidence of poverty in the country (Ghana Statistical Service 2014b).

  7. Cultural and social factors might explain this trend. An interview with a farmer in the village of Gwollu suggests that some “men marry in order to birth more children as a strategy to increase the labor force for their farm” (personal interview, November 22, 2015). An expert interview with an official at the Savanna Agricultural Research Institute (SARI) further confirmed that “cotton harvest is almost impossible with small household” (personal interview, November 16, 2015).

  8. In Ethiopia the national prevalence of undernourishment stands at 32% (FAO et al. 2015), and the incidence poverty at 30% for rural areas (World Bank 2015).

  9. Extracted from interviews conducted with officials of development agencies at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD) and the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ) in Accra (personal interview, December 1, 2015).

  10. Interview duration ranged between 1 and 2 hours, depending on family size and diversity of cultivated food crops.

References

  • Ahmed A, Hill RV, Smith L et al (2007) The world’s most deprived: characteristics and causes of extreme poverty and hunger. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Alexandratos N, Bruinsma J (2012) World agriculture: towards 2015/2030: the 2012 revision. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Amrouk EM, Rakotoarisoa MA, Chang K (2013) Structural changes in the sugar market and implications for sugarcane smallholders in developing countries. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Arndt C, Benfica R, Thurlow J (2011) Gender implications of biofuels expansion in Africa: the case of mozambique. World Dev 39:1649–1662. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2011.02.012

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Backiny-Yetna P, Mcgee K (2015) Gender differentials and agricultural productivity in Niger. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Boafo YA, Saito O, Jasaw GS et al (2016) Provisioning ecosystem services-sharing as a coping and adaptation strategy among rural communities in Ghana’s semi-arid ecosystem. Ecosyst Serv 19:92–102. doi:10.1016/j.ecoser.2016.05.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Breeman G, Dijkman J, Termeer C (2015) Enhancing food security through a multi-stakeholder process: the global agenda for sustainable livestock. Food Secur 7:425–435. doi:10.1007/s12571-015-0430-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Burchi F, De Muro P (2016) From food availability to nutritional capabilities: advancing food security analysis. Food Policy 60:10–19. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2015.03.008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Carletto C, Zezza A, Banerjee R (2013) Towards better measurement of household food security: harmonizing indicators and the role of household surveys. Glob Food Sec 2:30–40. doi:10.1016/j.gfs.2012.11.006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Central Statistical Agency of Ethiopia (2011) The 2007 population and housing census of Ethiopia. Central Statistical Agency (CSA), Addis Ababa

  • Cleaver HM (1972) The contradictions of the green revolution. American Economic Association, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Coates J, Swindale A, Bilinsky P (2007) Household food insecurity access scale (HFIAS) for measurement of food access: indicator guide (v. 3). USAID, Washington, DC

  • Dasgupta B (1977) India’s green revolution. Econ Polit Wkly 12:241–260

    Google Scholar 

  • De Cock N, D’Haese M, Vink N et al (2013) Food security in rural areas of Limpopo province, South Africa. Food Secur 5:269–282. doi:10.1007/s12571-013-0247-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doss C (2002) Men’s crop? Women’s crop? The gender patterns of cropping in Ghana. World Dev 30:1987–2000

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Doss C (2006) The effects of intrahousehold property ownership on expenditure patterns in Ghana. J Afr Econ 15:149–180. doi:10.1093/jae/eji025

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Elshout PMF, van Zelm R, Balkovic J et al (2015) Greenhouse-gas payback times for crop-based biofuels. Nat Clim Chang 5:604–610. doi:10.1038/nclimate2642

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Escobar JC, Lora ES, Venturini OJ et al (2009) Biofuels: environment, technology and food security. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 13:1275–1287. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2008.08.014

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ethiopian Investment Agency (2012) Sugar cane plantation and processing in Ethiopia. Ethiopian Investment Agency, Addis Ababa

    Google Scholar 

  • Eurostat (2003) Household production and consumption proposal for a methodology of household satellite accounts. Eurostat, Luxembourg

    Google Scholar 

  • Ewing M, Msangi S (2009) Biofuels production in developing countries: assessing tradeoffs in welfare and food security. Environ Sci Policy 12:520–528. doi:10.1016/j.envsci.2008.10.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • FAO (1983) A reappraisal of the concepts and approaches. Director General’s Report. FAO, Rome

  • FAO (1996) Rome declaration on world food security and world food summit plan of action rome declaration on world food security. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2002) Report of the world food summit: five years later. FAO, Rome

  • FAO (2003) Trade reforms and food security: conceptualizing the linkages. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2007) Education for rural people and food security: a cross country analysis. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2008a) Food security information for action programme. Food security concepts and frameworks. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2008b) Minimum dietary energy requirement. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO (2011) The state of food and agriculture. Women in agriculture: closing the gap for development. FAO, Rome

  • FAO, Who, UNU (2001) Human energy requirements: report of a joint FAO/WHO/UNU expert consultation. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • FAO, Wfp, IFAD (2015) The state of food insecurity in the world: meeting the 2015 international hunger targets: taking stock of uneven progress. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Gasparatos A, Stromberg P, Takeuchi K (2011) Biofuels, ecosystem services and human wellbeing: putting biofuels in the ecosystem services narrative. Agric Ecosyst Environ 142:111–128. doi:10.1016/j.agee.2011.04.020

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gasparatos A, Von Maltitz GP, Johnson FX et al (2015) Biofuels in sub-sahara Africa: drivers, impacts and priority policy areas. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 45:879–901. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2015.02.006

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Ghana Country Report (2008) State of cotton industry and prospects for the future in Ghana. Accra

  • Ghana Statistical Service (2014a) 2010 Population & housesing census—district analytical report. Ghana Statistical Service, Accra

  • Ghana Statistical Service (2014b) Ghana living standards survey round 6 (GLSS). Ghana Statistical Service, Accra

    Google Scholar 

  • Goreux L (2003) Reforming the cotton sector in sub-saharan Africa, 2nd edn. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Govereh J, Jayne TS (2003) Cash cropping and food crop productivity: synergies or trade-offs? Agric Econ 28:39–50. doi:10.1016/S0169-5150(02)00066-X

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Griggs D, Stafford Smith M, Rockström J et al (2014) An integrated framework for sustainable development goals. Ecol Soc 19(4):49. doi:10.5751/ES-07082-190449

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Headey D, Fan S (2010) Global food crisis. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Hoddinott J (1999) Choosing outcome indicators of household food security. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Howard EK, Osei-Ntiri K, Osei-Poku P (2012) The non-performance of Ghana cotton industry: eco-friendly cotton production technologies for sustainable development. Int J Fiber Text Res 2:30–38

    Google Scholar 

  • ICSU (2017) A guide to SDG interactions: from science to implementation. International Council for Science (ICSU), Paris

  • ICSU, ISSC (2015) Review of targets for the sustainable development goals: the science perspective. International Council for Science (ICSU), Paris

  • Joerin J, Joerin R (2013) Reviewing the similarities of the 2007–08 and 1972–74 food crisis. Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Zurich

    Google Scholar 

  • Kanter DR, Musumba M, Wood SLR et al (2016) Evaluating agricultural trade-offs in the age of sustainable development. Agric Syst. doi:10.1016/j.agsy.2016.09.010

    Google Scholar 

  • Kassie M, Ndiritu SW, Stage J (2014) What determines gender inequality in household food security in Kenya? Application of exogenous switching treatment regression. World Dev 56:153–171. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2013.10.025

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kumar K (1993) Rapid appraisal methods. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Kumar N, Quisumbing AR (2013) Gendered impacts of the 2007–2008 food price crisis: Evidence using panel data from rural Ethiopia. Food Policy 38:11–22. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2012.10.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lambrecht IB (2016) “As a Husband I Will Love, Lead, and Provide”. Gendered access to land in Ghana. World Dev 88:188–200. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.07.018

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lang T, Barling D (2012) Food security and food sustainability: reformulating the debate. Geogr J 178:313–326. doi:10.1111/j.1475-4959.2012.00480.x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Luxton M (1997) The UN, women, and household labour: measuring and valuing unpaid work. Womens Stud Int Forum 20:431–439. doi:10.1016/S0277-5395(97)00026-5

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Marphatia AA, Moussie R (2013) A question of gender justice: exploring the linkages between women’s unpaid care work, education, and gender equality. Int J Educ Dev 33:585–594. doi:10.1016/j.ijedudev.2013.05.005

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Meludu NT, Ifie PA, Akinbile LA, Adekoya EA (1999) The role of women in sustainable food security in Nigeria: a case of Udu local government area of delta state. J Sustain Agric 15:87–97. doi:10.1300/J064v15n01_08

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mudombi S, Von Maltitz GP, Gasparatos A et al (2016) Multi-dimensional poverty effects around operational biofuel projects in Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland. Biomass Bioenergy 1–14. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2016.09.003

  • Muller C, Cramer W, Hare WL, Lotze-Campen H (2011) Climate change risks for African agriculture. Proc Natl Acad Sci 108:4313–4315. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015078108

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Müller A, Schmidhuber J, Hoogeveen J, Steduto P (2008) Some insights in the effect of growing bio-energy demand on global food security and natural resources. Water Policy 10:83–94. doi:10.2166/wp.2008.053

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Napoli M (2011) Towards a Food Insecurity Multidimensional Index (FIMI). Tre University, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Negash M, Swinnen JFM (2013) Biofuels and food security: micro-evidence from Ethiopia. Energy Policy 61:963–976. doi:10.1016/j.enpol.2013.06.031

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • OCHA (2013) ETHIOPIA: oromia region administrative map. OCHA, Addis Ababa

    Google Scholar 

  • Oseni G, Goldstein M, Winters P (2014) Explaining gender differentials in agricultural production in Nigeria. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Pinstrup-Andersen P (2009) Food security: definition and measurement. Food Secur 1:5–7. doi:10.1007/s12571-008-0002-y

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Poulton C, Gibbon P, Hanyani-Mlambo B et al (2004) Competition and coordination in liberalized African cotton market systems. World Dev 32:519–536. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2003.10.003

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Romeu-Dalmau C, Gasparatos A, von Maltitz G et al (2016) Impacts of land use change due to biofuel crops on climate regulation services: five case studies in Malawi, Mozambique and Swaziland. Biomass Bioenergy. doi:10.1016/j.biombioe.2016.05.011

    Google Scholar 

  • Rosenzweig C, Elliott J, Deryng D et al (2014) Assessing agricultural risks of climate change in the 21st century in a global gridded crop model intercomparison. Proc Natl Acad Sci 111:3268–3273. doi:10.1073/pnas.1222463110

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  • Rufino MC, Reidsma P, Nillesen EEM (2010) Comments to “Is an integrated farm more resilient against climate change? A micro-econometric analysis of portfolio diversification in African agriculture”. Food Policy 36:452–454. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2009.06.004

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Sasson A (2012) Food security for Africa: an urgent global challenge. Agric Food Secur 1:2. doi:10.1186/2048-7010-1-2

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Schmidhuber J, Tubiello FN (2007) Global food security under climate change. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. pp 19703–19708

  • Schoneveld GC (2014) The geographic and sectoral patterns of large-scale farmland investments in sub-Saharan Africa. Food Policy 48:34–50. doi:10.1016/j.foodpol.2014.03.007

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Seguino S, Were M (2014) Gendered perspectives on economic growth and development in sub-Saharan Africa. UNU-WIDER, Helsinki

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith LC, Subandoro A (2007) Measuring food security using household expenditure surveys. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Smith LC, Alderman H, Aduayom D (2006) Food insecurity in sub-Saharan Africa: new estimates from household expenditure surveys. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Sraboni E, Malapit HJ, Quisumbing AR, Ahmed AU (2014) Women’s empowerment in agriculture : what role for food security in Bangladesh? World Dev 61:11–52. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.03.025

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Stadlmayr B, Charrondiere R, Enujiugha V et al (2012) West African food composition table. FAO, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Theriault V, Tschirley DL (2014) How institutions mediate the impact of cash cropping on food crop intensification: an application to cotton in sub-saharan Africa. World Dev 64:298–310. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2014.06.014

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thornhill S, Vargyas E, Fitzgerald T, Chisholm N (2016) Household food security and biofuel feedstock production in rural Mozambique and Tanzania. Food Secur 8:953–971. doi:10.1007/s12571-016-0603-9

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Tibesigwa B, Visser M (2016) Assessing gender inequality in food security among small-holder farm households in urban and rural south Africa. World Dev 88:33–49. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.07.008

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • UNDP (2012) Africa human development report 2012: towards a food secure future. UNDP, New York

  • UNICEF (2016) 2016 Ethiopia humanitarian requirements document mid-year review. UNICEF, Addis Ababa

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations (2015a) The millennium development goals report 2015. United Nations, New York

    Google Scholar 

  • United Nations (2015b) Transforming our world: The 2030 agenda for sustainable development. United Nations, Department of Economic and Social Affairs, New York

  • United State Department of Agriculture (2015) Ethiopia ethiopia aims to become one of the world’ s Top 10 sugar producers. USDA, Addis Ababa

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Eijck J, Romijn H, Balkema A, Faaij A (2014) Global experience with jatropha cultivation for bioenergy: An assessment of socio-economic and environmental aspects. Renew Sustain Energy Rev 32:869–889. doi:10.1016/j.rser.2014.01.028

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vink N (2012) Food security and African agriculture. South African J Int Aff 19:157–177. doi:10.1080/10220461.2012.706489

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • von Maltitz GP, Gasparatos A, Fabricius C et al (2016) Jatropha cultivation in Malawi and Mozambique: Impact on ecosystem services, local human well-being, and poverty alleviation. Ecol Soc. doi:10.5751/ES-08554-210303

    Google Scholar 

  • Vondal P (2010) Using rapid appraisal methods. USAID, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Wendimu MA, Henningsen A, Gibbon P (2016) Sugarcane outgrowers in Ethiopia: “Forced” to remain poor? World Dev 83:84–97. doi:10.1016/j.worlddev.2016.03.002

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • WFP (2009) Comprehensive food security and vulnerability analysis (CFSVA). WFP, Rome

    Google Scholar 

  • Wiggins S, Henley G, Keats S (2015) Competitive or complementary? Industrial crops and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. ODI, London

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (2012) Gender equality. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (2015) Ethiopia poverty assessment 2014. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank (2016) Development goals in an era of demographic change. World Bank, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • World Bank, FAO, IFAD (2008) Gender in agriculture: sourcebook. The World Bank, Washington, DC

    Book  Google Scholar 

  • Wu W, Tang H, Yang P et al (2011) Scenario-based assessment of future food security. J Geogr Sci 21:3–17. doi:10.1007/s11442-011-0825-x

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Yillia P (2016) Water-energy-food nexus: framing the opportunities, challenges and synergies for implementing the SDGs. Oesterr Wasser Abfallwirtsch 1–2:86–98. doi:10.1007/s00506-016-0297-4

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zanella MA, Rahmanian M, Perch LN et al (2015) Discussion: food security and sustainable food systems: the role of soil. Int Soil Water Conserv Res 3:154–159. doi:10.1016/j.iswcr.2015.06.001

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Zeller M, Sharma M (2000) The demand for financial services by the rural poor. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

  • Zeller M, Schrieder G, Von Braun J, Heidhues F (1997) Rural finance for food security for the poor: implications for research and policy. IFPRI, Washington, DC

    Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

This study was conducted as part of the research project ‘Food Security Impacts of Industrial Crop Expansion in Sub-Sahara Africa’ (FICESSA: FY2015~FY2018). The support from the Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) through the Belmont Forum and the United Nations University Institute for the Advanced Study of Sustainability (UNU-IAS) are acknowledged.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Rodolfo Dam Lam.

Additional information

Handled by Hirotaka Matsuda, The University of Tokyo, Japan.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 15 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Dam Lam, R., Boafo, Y.A., Degefa, S. et al. Assessing the food security outcomes of industrial crop expansion in smallholder settings: insights from cotton production in Northern Ghana and sugarcane production in Central Ethiopia. Sustain Sci 12, 677–693 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0449-x

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0449-x

Keywords

  • Caloric intake
  • Gender
  • Cotton
  • Sugarcane
  • Food security