Livelihood Diversification and Food Security Nexus In Assosa Wereda, Benishangule Gumuz National Regional State, Western Ethiopia

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Addis ababa university


Diversification of livelihoods is a recurrently applied approach for cushioning economic and environmental shocks on the path to reducing poverty and improving well-being of the households. Therefore, this study was conducted empirically and theoretically to assess livelihood diversification and food security nexus. The study was carried out in Assosa Wereda, BGRS, Western Ethiopia. The study used qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods approach. A total of 320 rural households sample were selected from four Kebeles using systematic sampling technique. Both qualitative and quantitative data for the study were collected via structured questionnaire, key informant interview, FGD and observation. Descriptive statistical tools such as mean, standard deviation, X2 tests, percentage, and others like MNL regression model, SDI, LVI, HFBM, NFA, DES, HDDS, HFIAS, HFIAP, CSI, Spearman's rho correlation and scatter plot were used to analyze the data. The findings of the study identified level of education, dependency ratio, access to irrigation, and household urban linkage were significant predictors of diversification of livelihoods. Whereas, land hold size, livestock holding size in TLU, extension contact, cooperative member and total household income didn’t have any association with household diversification of livelihoods. The rest determinates were insignificant predictors of diversification of livelihoods. Furthermore, as SDI result showed no diversification rather ‘specialization’ in livelihood. The study area relatively endowed with different resource potentials and opportunities. However, these resources were exposed to human-induced vulnerability and the opportunities were not yet feasible. Likewise, of rural livelihood assets that have sustainable contribution for food security of the household’s: access to skill training, modern education access, and cooperation of households were significant. However, these assets were not a guaranty for sustainable food security of the households. Meanwhile, households' annual total income has no association with the households' sustainable rural food security contribution. Whereas, the other variables were insignificant. Meanwhile, an average DES of the household was 1,592.07 kcasl / person / day and only 13% of households consume more than 2,100kcals / person / day and only 0.9% of households consumed variety of diet. Similarly, as HFIAS revealed only 1.6% of households would never worried about having not enough food. Hence, as HFIAP showed 67.2% of households were food insecure. While, as CSI showed also about 62.2% of households identified as food insecure. Therefore, as these entire indicators showed, the households faced inadequate physical availability, economic and physical inaccessibility, utility and instability of food. Of the common determinants of livelihood diversification and food security, only education levels and dependency ratios of the households were statistically significant. Besides, as Spearman's rho correlation coefficient results show, the association between livelihood diversification and food security was weak and positive (0.270). The variation of food security explained by livelihood diversification was only 7.29%. The scatter plot of the correlation coefficient was the offline outlier. P-value was 0.001 which was less than 0.05. Hence, the null hypothesis was rejected. Ultimately, the study therefore, urges more livelihood diversification opportunities for poverty alleviation and development, encouraging voluntary villagization programs and infrastructure development, successful credit and saving services would be accessible, promoting household centric modern large-scale irrigation schemes and livestock rearing, and promoting community based conservation of natural environment. Finally, the study was important for socio-economic planning and strategic development of the study area.



Livelihood Diversification, Livelihood opportunity, Livelihood vulnerability, food in/security, sustainable Livelihood, MNL regression, Odd ratio.