Food security was investigated in three villages in rural Ethiopia for smallholder farmers growing staple crops and coffee. Field surveys were conducted through extensive interviews of head of households in three villages in the coffee-growing region of Oromia. We computed basic descriptive statistics and estimated a discrete variable model of the food security status of households and its socioeconomic determinants. We found that commercial input used among smallholders remains sporadic and pricey. Most households produce coffee as a key source of cash income, and rely on a major coffee cooperative to market their coffee. The coffee cooperative helps with transportation costs, eases market participation decisions, and provides better and stable prices. Many farmers rely on credit and banking services offered by the cooperative. These services contribute to food security. Most food-insecure households tend to be headed by females and have severe land constraints. These households also tend to work outside of their own farm more often at lower-return activities than do food-secure households. Despite the fast growing economy of Ethiopia, smallholder households face considerable impediments to improve their economic livelihoods and market participation due to limited land and poor transportation and telecommunications infrastructures. Policies lowering the unit cost and increasing the local availability of commercial inputs for agriculture would be useful to boost staple food production and income generation of smallholders systematically. Better infrastructures and easier access to land would help mitigate food insecurity.
Without implicating them, the authors thank The Global Food Security Consortium at Iowa State University for financial support, Manjit Misra and Max Rothschild for supporting the project, and Berhanu Belay and Amsalu Nebiyu of Jimma University for their pivotal help implementing surveys in Jimma zone. We also benefited from discussions with and background information from Tadesse Meskela, formerly with the OCFCU. Beghin also acknowledges support from the Marlin Cole Professorship fund.
Beghin, J.C. and Teshome, Y. (2017), "The Coffee-Food Security Interface for Subsistence Households in Jimma Zone Ethiopia", World Agricultural Resources and Food Security (Frontiers of Economics and Globalization, Vol. 17), Emerald Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 221-240. https://doi.org/10.1108/S1574-871520170000017015
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