ANALYSIS OF FOOD SECURITY AND COPING STRATEGIES OF RURAL FARM HOUSEHOLDS IN KADUNA STATE, NIGERIA
The study analyzed the food security status and the coping strategies adopted by rural farm households against food insecurity in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Primary data were used for the study and the research work was conducted in 2015. Structured questionnaire was used to collect data from rural farm households. The list of rural farm households from Kaduna State Agricultural Development Project was used to randomly select 10% of farmers from each of the sixteen villages to give a sample size of 390 farmers. The analytical tools used to achieve the stated objectives are descriptive statistics to analyze the socio-economic characteristics of respondents and crop contributions to rural households‟ food security. The food security index was used to determine food security status of households while logistic regression model was used to examine the determinants of food security among the households surveyed and Kendall‟s coefficient of concordance to describe and rank the coping strategies adopted by rural farm households. The study found that the mean age of the farmers was 49 years and most of the sampled respondents were males. About 89% were married and 30% of the farmers had no formal education. The mean farming experience in the study area was 19 years. The most widely grown crops were cereals, of which maize was the most important .The mean per capita expenditure of the households in the study area was about N405 per day, putting this household at extreme risk of food insecurity. The Z-Statistic result indicated that there was a significant difference between expenditure pattern of food secure and food insecure households. The study showed that about 41% of the respondents were food secured while 59% were food insecure. The food security indices for the food secured and insecure households were found to be 1.43 and 0.81 respectively implying that food secured households consumed 43% in excess of their daily calorie requirements; while food insecure households consumed 19% less than their daily calorie requirements. This study also revealed that 9.2% of the total sampled households were found to be severely food insecure and had both adult and children food intake reduced to an extent that they witnessed severe hunger .The results of the Logistic regression model revealed that age, education, access to production credit, household size, dependency ratio, household farm income and non-farm income were the determinants of food security status of rural farming households in the study area. The months of April and May were the periods in which households experienced severe food shortage. The study indicated that eating less preferred food was the most widely used of all the coping strategies considered in the study area. The Kendall‟s (W) of 0.56 show that there was agreement among 56% of the rankers (respondents)which was significant at 1% as indicated by the p-value of 0.000. Most of the coping strategies used by farming households were moderate in terms of the frequency at which different coping strategies were used to temporarily mitigate the impact of food insecurity. These results have implications for agricultural food policy in developing countries, especially Nigeria, because large chunk of expenditure would go into importation of food in order to reduce the severity of food insecurity and hunger to the bearest minimum level and it might be quite unsustainable at the long run especially in the period of recession. The study, therefore, recommended that rural households should be educated on the need to diversify their sources of income from agriculture to off- farm income generating activities. This is to improve food security at the household level.