Household coping strategies for food security in hazardous areas of rural Tanzania: the case of Kagera Region.

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University of Dar es Salaam
This thesis has signalled the ways in which indigenous knowledge, that provides the basis for much coping behaviour, and patterns of coping themselves, interact with official attempts at household food insecurity presentation and mitigation. A sensitive administration or a Non-Governmental organization has to be able to build on such foundations. More often than not, official recovery practice pay little heed to what ordinary peasants do. This work investigated the household coping strategies for food security in Kagera Region, situated in the North West of Tanzania, whereby 90% of the population is engaged in agricultural production. Main food crops include bananas, maize, beans, cassava, sweet potatoes, yams, millet and sorghum. Cash crops are mainly coffee and tea. The coping strategies used by households in Kagera Region, entailed mobilization of resources which included using the market, the exercise of rights, calling upon obligations of other household members, kin, patrons, friends as well as theft or even violence. The objective was survival in the face of adverse events including the 1980s HIV/AII~S pandemic, the 1994 Rwanda and Burundi refugee influx, banana weevils and nematodes and the 1978/79 Iddi Amin war of aggression. The coping strategies are based on the totality of the households economic, social, political and environmental resources. Household food security in Kagera means when the household at all times has physical and economic access to sufficient food to meet the household member's dietary needs for a productive and healthy life. Unfortunately, policymakers at local level have paid little attention to household and village-based strategies for coping with food security. Rural households in hazardous areas have a capacity to cope with food insecurity. The methodology used to get the results was identifying two wards for each district of Ngara, Karagwe, Muleba and Bukoba Rural which were highly affected by the hazards. Then villages were selected from those wards and finally households. All the households in the selected villages were listed and stratified using the listing questionnaire. From each stratum or vulnerability measure, five households were selected using systematic simple random sampling starting with not vulnerable, moderately vulnerable, most vulnerable and very vulnerable. The sample survey had a total of one hundred and twenty households. There were listing and household questionnaires. The household questionnaire had five modules. The five modules were household particulars, household facilities, income generating activities, consumption and coping strategies. The population sampled was the peasant households and the method used as interviewing. The sampling procedure utilised under the probability or random based samples, was a representative of a large population of food insecure in Kagera Region. The survey was a one-off, that is, collecting current information on crosssectional basis. This form of data collection highlighted relationships between refugee influx, HIV/AIDS, banana weevils and nematodes, being food insecure and the coping strategies. Many coping strategies in Kagera Region have come under a variety of pressures which have reduced their range and efficacy. The influence of the market has improved some and eroded others. Nonetheless, coping strategies of all kinds have been crucial elements in understanding the vulnerability and designing interventions. The thesis indicates appropriate ways of improving household food security in sustainable ways. Comprehending the coping strategies is the bed-rock on which successful household food security depends and identifying the limits to and potential of the coping strategies is the basis on which household food security can be maintained. Cultivation is practiced by nearly all households in the rural areas of Kagera region. The availability of land and established social networks make cultivation the major coping strategy for food security at the preventive level. However, cultivation as a coping strategy by a household depends on circumstances and strategy, for production of both food and cash crops. Export-led development has greatly influenced cash crops production. Due to unequal exchange, declining terms of trade and increased risks, cash crops occasionally do not produce household food security growth through improved factor utilisation. Household food security has to go beyond micro-economic concentration on small farms. There is a need of studying the socio-economic constraints affecting the households at specific times. There is also a necessity of improving agricultural policies and investment plans to benefit rural households. This has to ensure that the framework of economic policies were favourable and maintenance of constant communication between authorities and technical experts at all levels as well as the peasants who will be involved.
Available in print form, East Africana Collection, Dr. Wilbert Chagula Library, Class mark (THS EAF HD9000.17.T34K35)
Food products, Food Security, Kagera (Region), Tanzania
Kamugisha, C. A. (2001) Household coping strategies for food security in hazardous areas of rural Tanzania: the case of Kagera Region, Doctoral dissertation, University of Dar es Salaam, Dar es Salaam