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The effects of weather, household assets, and safety-net programs on household food security in Ethiopia using rural household panel data

Hunnes, Dana Ellis
Regional environmental change 2015 v.15 no.6 pp. 1095-1104
assets, at-risk population, food security, household surveys, households, irrigation, linear models, livelihood, rain, villages, Ethiopia
This study explores whether household assets, safety-net programs, or weather influence household food security over time. Based on literature review, Ethiopia became the focus of this study, as its population is vulnerable to weather fluctuations for its livelihoods and food security. To carry out this study, longitudinal panel data from the Ethiopian Rural Household Survey were used. Hierarchical linear modeling was used to assess the influence of these variables at the household, village, and regional levels over time. Results indicate that household location and its geographic setting, which correlate with amount of rainfall received, are the most important predictors of household food-security status. Time was another important predictor of food security, demonstrating a secular linear trend toward worse food-security status over time. Households that have irrigation demonstrated increased food security where there was also sufficient rainfall. According to the results of this study, social safety-net programs such as free-food distribution did not have an impact on food-security status. The results of this study point to a secular trend that food security in rural Ethiopia may be decreasing with time and that current safety-net programs and household assets may not be sufficient to prevent the decline. In sum, this study raises additional questions for future research.