The role of livestock diversification in ensuring household food security under a changing climate in Borana, Ethiopia
- 829 Downloads
While food insecurity is a growing concern across the developing nations, accentuated by climate variability and change, it could be even worse for pastoralists given their unpredictable exposure to climate risks. The Borana herders experience food insecurity as a result of recurring droughts causing huge losses of cattle, and are thus increasingly shifting from cattle pastoralism to multi-species herding. The present study examines the role of livestock diversification in combating household food insecurity using herders’ perceptions, a modified household food insecurity access scale (mHFIAS) and dietary diversity score. Herders perceived child growth, adult height and body condition to be decreasing as a result of declining milk production and changing dietary trends. Results also revealed a high level of seasonal food insecurity and low dietary diversity with the majority (81 %) consuming one to three food groups. Livestock diversification was a major factor affecting household food security. Households practising diversification had significantly fewer months of food deficit (2.3 vs. 3.8), lower mHFIAS (5.5 vs. 8.7) and a higher average off-take in the form of livestock sales (7.4 vs. 4.0) than non-diversified ones. Diversification improved dietary intake of specific food groups and the average number of meals consumed per day. While fruits, eggs and fish are not part of the Borana diet, a large number of respondents consumed no vegetables (93 %) or meat (96 %), potentiating the risk of micronutrient deficiencies. This study highlights the particular significance of livestock diversification, among other socio-demographic factors, in attaining food security under a changing climate in the study area.
KeywordsClimate variability Dietary diversity Food insecurity Livestock diversification Borana
The research work has been financially supported by the Dr. Hermann Eiselen PhD Grant from the Foundation Fiat Panis. This publication is an output of the scholarship from the Food Security Center, University of Hohenheim, which is supported by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). Respondents spent their time and energy in answering questions. All contributions are gratefully acknowledged. We are thankful to the anonymous reviewers and the editor for their constructive comments and corrections to improve the quality of the paper.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
- Ajani, S. R. (2010). An assessment of dietary diversity in six Nigerian States. African Journal of Biomedical Research, 13, 161–167.Google Scholar
- Becquey, E., Martin-Prevel, Y., Traissac, P., Dembele, B., Bambara, A., & Delpeuch, F. (2010). The household food insecurity access scale and an index-member dietary diversity score contribute valid and complementary information on household food insecurity in an urban West-African setting. Journal of Nutrition, 140, 2233–2240.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Berhanu, W., & Fayissa, B. (2010). Analysis of the household economy and expenditure patterns of a traditional pastoralist society in southern Ethiopia. Working Papers 201005, Middle Tennessee State University, Department of Economics and Finance.Google Scholar
- Coates, J., Swindale, A., & Bilinsky, P. (2007). Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) for measurement of house hold food access: Indicator guide (v3). Washington, DC: Food and Nutrition Technical Assistance, Academy for Educational Development.Google Scholar
- Coppock, D. L. (1994). The Borana plateau of southern Ethiopia: Synthesis of pastoral research development and changes, 1980–90. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: ILCA (International Livestock Centre for Africa).Google Scholar
- Desta, S., Tezera, S., Gebru, G., & Kristjanson, P. (2011). Summary of baseline household survey results: Borana, Ethiopia. CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS). Copenhagen, Denmark. http://ccafs.cgiar.org/resources/baseline-surveys. Accessed on 24 July, 2012.
- Doti, T. (2010). Climate variability, pastoralists’ vulnerability and options. The case of the Borana of Northern Kenya. In D. A. Mwiturubani & J. A. van Wyk (Eds.), Climate change and natural resources conflicts in Africa. Monograph 170. Pretoria, South Africa: Institute for Security Studies.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2004). Dietary diversity in Dangarayo and Dinsor districts, Somalia. Rome, Italy: Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU), Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation.Google Scholar
- FAO. (2007). Guidelines for measuring household and individual dietary diversity, version 3. Rome Italy: Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nation.Google Scholar
- Ferro-Luzzi, A., Morris, S. S., Taffesse, S., Demissie, T., & D’Amato, M. (2001). Seasonal undernutrition in rural Ethiopia. Magnitude, correlates and functional significance. IFPRI Research Report 118. Washington, D.C.Google Scholar
- Jahnke, H. E. (1982). Livestock production systems and livestock development in tropical Africa. Kiel, Germany: Kieler Wissenschaftsverlag Vauk.Google Scholar
- Sadler, K., Kervan, C., Calo, M., Manske, M., & Catley, A. (2009). Milk matters: A literature review of pastoralist nutrition and programming responses. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia: Feinstein International Center, Tufts University and Saves the Children.Google Scholar
- Thorne-Lyman, A. L., Valpiani, N., Sun, K., Semba, R. D., Klotz, C. L., Kraemer, K., Akhter, N., de Pee, S., Moench-Pfanner, R., Sari, M., & Bloem, M. W. (2010). Household dietary diversity and food expenditures are closely linked in rural Bangladesh, increasing the risk of malnutrition due to the financial crisis. Journal of Nutrition, 140, 182–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar