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Characterisation of food security and consumption patterns among smallholder livestock farmers in Botswana

Bahta, Sirak, Wanyoike, Francis, Katjiuongua, Hikuepi, Marumo, Davis
Agriculture & food security 2017 v.6 no.1 pp. 65
data collection, farmers, food security, foods, households, livestock, malnutrition, nutrition, research institutions, rural areas, surveys, Botswana
BACKGROUND: Achievement of food security is an important objective in the National Development Plan of Botswana. This study set out to characterise food security situation and food consumption patterns among livestock keepers in Botswana. The study also sought to determine the effect of various factors (including livestock-related issues) on nutrition/food consumption patterns of livestock farmers in Botswana. Data used in this study come from a survey of smallholder livestock producers conducted by the International Livestock Research Institute and its partners in Botswana in 2013. A food consumption score (FCS) is a qualitative measure of food security constructed using data collected at a household level, and to investigate the influence of various factors on food security and consumption patterns, both logit and OLS regression were used. RESULTS: Results show that purchase was the chief source of foodstuffs (including main staples) in these households. About 20% of households claimed that they had suffered lack of food at least once during the preceding 12 months prior to the collection of data used in this analysis. Nearly all of them reported having had to endure going to bed hungry. Application of the World Food Programme (WFP) FCS methodology of food security analysis supported this claim. Based on the FCS, about 9% of households were food insecure. This category constituted 6% that ranked poorly and 3% that were on the borderline according to the WFP’s definition of food security. These findings justify continued efforts to ensure realisation of food security among livestock keepers in Botswana. CONCLUSION: The results from this study justify continued, but well-targeted efforts to ensure realisation of food security among livestock keepers in Botswana. The significant effect that livestock keeping has on food security implies that promotion of the livestock activities, especially in the rural areas, could foster alleviation of malnutrition, especially among the poor.