The Determinants And Implications Of Food Security.Food security has been identified as having food availability, food accessibility, utilization and stability of food access as its elements.
1.1 Background of the Study
Food is anything eaten to satisfy appetite and to meet physiological needs for growth, to maintain all body processes, and to supply energy to maintain body temperature and activity.
According to Wilson, David, Kelvin and Schucknecht (2012) food is an edible material that provides nutrients. It can also be referred to as any organic substance taken by animal and after digestion, can provide nutrients.
Food is required by every living thing. It is essential for the survival of all living things. Food can be in form of solid, liquid, powder, granule or in pellet form. Food is one of the basic necessity of man as a living being. This is the reason for global attention to food.
On the other hand, food security is a condition related to the supply of food, and individuals’ access to it. Maxwell (2006) stated that the term food security indicates the availability of and access to food by those in need. According to Omonona and Agoi (2007), food security is defined as physical and economic access to adequate food by all household members without undue risk of losing the access.
Food security has been identified as having food availability, food accessibility, utilization and stability of food access as its elements (Watts, 2013). Food security at household level is a subset of the national level and it requires that all individuals and households have access to sufficient food either by producing it themselves or by generating sufficient income to demand for it.
Food security is a term that emerged following the 1980s shift in food policy debate from food supply to food demand and the emergence of new emphasis on food entitlement, sustainability, vulnerability, risk and access (Maxwell and Slater, 2003).
The term has been defined in various ways. However, food security indicates the availability of and access to food by those in need (Okunmadewa, et. al, 1990). Food security has been identified as having food availability, food accessibility, utilization and stability of food access as its elements (Okuneye, 2002 and Watts, 2013).
Food security at household level is a subset of the national level and it requires that all individuals and households have access to sufficient food either by producing it themselves or by generating sufficient income to demand for it.
In Nigeria nearly a quarter of the population especially, those in the rural areas are malnourished and are the largest proportion of the people that suffer from chronic hunger, disease, poor health status among others (Azubuike, 2013).
Some assessments indicate that the probability of crop failure in certain parts of Nigeria could reach 10 per cent (Collier and Gunning, 1999: 76; FAO, 2006).
This can be much worse where policies in attaining food security are underemphasized and the gap between per capita food production and consumption is induced by the slowdown of the agricultural production growth rates (FDRE, 2001).
Researchers, planners, donors and international development agencies have given high priority to the study of food system and the problem of food security due to deepening food crises. Despite the available resources and the efforts made by governments in different times, food insecurity remained one of the most crucial challenges to economic development and has been aggravated by recurring rainfall shocks and other natural disasters (Dercon, 2004; White, 2005).
Food insecurity remains a fundamental challenge in Nigeria in spite of successive governments efforts over the years to achieve food security in the country, through the setting up of a number of agricultural development institutions, and special programmes and projects which include:
National Accelerated Food Production Progamme, NAFPP (1973);
Agriculture Development Project, ADP (1975); Operation Feed the Nation, OFN (1976);
National Seed Service, NSS (1977); Agricultural Credit Guarantee Scheme ACGS(1977);
Rural Banking Scheme, RBS(1977);
Green Revolution GR(1979);
Directorate of Food, Road and Rural Infrastructure, DFRRI(1986);
National Agriculture Land Development Authority, NALDA(1992), National Fadama Development Project, NFDP I ,II, and III(1992, 1999 and 2008 respectively)
Nigeria Agricultural Cooperative and Rural Development Bank, NACRDB in 2000 (now Bank of Agriculture BOA in 2010); National Agricultural Development Fund NADF(2002); National Special Programme on Food Security, NSPFS (2002);
Commodity Marketing and Development Companies, CMDC (2003) and more recently, the Presidential Initiatives on selected crops (2004-2005), seven Points Agenda with emphasis on Food Security (2009) and the Agricultural Transformation Agenda of the past administration. Still very large proportions of Nigerians are in hunger and poverty.
Despite all these, the Food and Agriculture Organization (2004) enlisted Nigeria among countries faced with serious food insecurity problems, the vision of the country to have physical and economic access to food on a continuous basis still remains a mirage (Adeyeye, 1997).
The population of food insecure households in Nigeria was 18% in 1986 (Babatunde et. al; 2007) but had increased to 40% in 2005 and higher in the subsequent years (Sanusi, 2006, Enete et al, 2008). This has led to food insecurity in the country.
Food insecurity may be chronic, seasonal, or temporary/transitory, and it may occur at the household, regional, or national level (Maxwell, 1996).
Food insecurity or lack of access to nutritionally adequate diet in a household or country can take various forms. For example, chronic food insecurity exists when food supplies are persistently insufficient to supply adequate nutrient for all individuals.
Transitory food insecurity occurs when there is a temporary decline in access to adequate food because of instability in food production, food price increases or income shortfalls (Omonona and Agoi, 2007).
The economic development of a nation is known to be dependent on its factor endowment and this includes both the non-human and human resources. The productive capacity of the human resources is however a function of how well fed they are.
Food problem, with regards to quality and quantity, is one of the characteristics of developing countries like Nigeria (Omonona and Agoi, 2007). Hunger and malnutrition adversely affect the livelihood and well-being of a massive number of people and inhibiting the development of many poor countries (Gebremedhin, 2000).
The World Health Organization recommends an intake of between 2500 – 3400Kcal of energy per person per day. It was recommended that an individual should consume between 65-86g crude proteins per day out of which 35g (or 40%) must be animal protein (Babatunde, 2010).
Many Nigerian especially those in the rural areas have energy intake that is far below the minimum recommended daily per capita intake and the factors responsible are not well known, hence, predisposing people to the challenge of food insecurity.
This study, therefore, focused on the determinants of food security and implication among people in Ezza North local government area of Ebonyi state,
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Food is a basic necessity of life. Its importance is seen in the fact that it is a basic means of sustenance and an adequate food intake, in terms of quantity and quality, is a key for healthy and productive life. The importance of food is also shown in the fact that it accounts for a substantial part of a typical Nigerian household budget.
Various foods serve as important “vehicles” for taking nutrients into the body and bringing about human pleasure, hence, the need for food to be taken in the right quantity and quality. To measure the quality of any food taken, there are classes of essential nutrients, which must be combined, in appropriate proportion to ensure a balanced food intake.
These include carbohydrates, protein, fats and oil, vitamins and minerals
The main goal of food security therefore, is for individuals to be able to obtain adequate food needed at all times, and to be able to utilise the food to meet the body’s needs.
Currently there is a growing consensus that food insecurity and poverty problems are closely related in the Nigerian context. The World Bank (2001) identified three pillars underpinning food security.
These are food availability, food accessibility, and food utilization. This means that a nation whose food production level is unable to satisfy these three criteria is said to be food insecure.
The Federal Ministry of Agriculture (2010) estimated that over 53 million people in Nigeria are hungry, which is about 30 percent of the country’s total population of roughly 150 million; and 52 percent live under the poverty line. However, Nigeria attained self – sufficient in food production and a net exporter of food to other regions of the continent in the 1950s and 1960s. The fall in food production has resulted to increase in food importation to clear the excess demand over supply of food in the country.
The problem of food insecurity is mainly felt in the rural areas like in Ezza North local government area of Ebonyi state. The area is characterised with subsistence farming, poor infrastructural facilities, poor storage facilities for the preservation of the few available food. Based on these, people in the area are always prone to diseases, hunger and poverty.
Despite the government intervention policies, the question to be asked are do these policy interventions achieve its intended objectives? Or do the food security policy interventions bring change on the livelihood of the rural people? These questions are the rationale for conducting evaluation research.
It is against this that the researcher sought to find out the determinants and implication of food security in Ezza North Local Government. In trying to find solutions to the problems, the following research questions were asked;
– What are the socio-economic characteristics of rural households in the study area?
– What are the causes of food insecurity in the study area/
– What are the effects of food insecurity on the rural households?
– What are the constraints to food security in the study area?.
1.3 Objectives of the study
The main objective is to examine the determinants and implications of food security in Ezza North Local government area of Ebonyi state.
Specifically, the study sought to;
ii. determine causes of food insecurity in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State
iii. analyse the effects of food insecurity on rural households in the study area
1.4 Study Hypothesis
The following null hypothesis was tested in this study:
Ho: Food insecurity has no significant effect on the socio-economic status of the people in the study area.
1.5 Significance of the Study
The above mentioned problems are general to developing countries and findings of this research will contribute to the application of policy design and analysis in policy evaluation which is one of the new research spearhead of ITC especially within the framework of Governance and Spatial Information Management (GSIM) program and evaluating policy effectiveness is also viewed by many as the basic tool for monitoring progress.
Despite its usefulness, critical evaluation of policy effectiveness is not carried out in majority of the developing countries like Nigeria in general and in Ebonyi state region in particular.
Therefore, it is in this respect that the researcher intends to carry out a study so as to evaluate the effectiveness of Ebonyi state State Food Security Policy in ensuring food security.
While the datasets and findings of the research is particular to the study area, the evaluation of policy effectiveness approach as well as the results of this study will be largely generic and can be applied elsewhere.
An appreciable body of knowledge and information have been generated by different researchers and authors on a wide range of issues related to the subject matter of the study.
This chapter is considered necessary because, it explores critically the mass of literature through an indept look at concepts, theories, principles and related empirical studies.
This is to ascertain the scope and limitations of other studies in this regard. I reviewing relevant literatures, efforts are made to cover as much as possible issues relating to the research questions and objectives of the study.
The literature review is done in three parts. The first part looks at the conceptual literature. The second part of the literature review presents the theoretical literature and depicts the framework of food security. The last part reviews studies carried out on food security.
2.1 Concept of Food Security
Food security is a condition related to the supply of food, and individuals’ access to it. Concerns over food security have existed throughout history (Azubuike, 2015).
There is evidence of granaries being in use over 10,000 years ago, with central authorities in civilizations including Ancient China and Ancient Egypt being known to release food from storage in times of famine. At the 1974 World Food Conference the term “food security” was defined with an emphasis on supply.
Food security, they said, is the “availability at all times of adequate world food supplies of basic foodstuffs to sustain a steady expansion of food consumption and to offset fluctuations in production and prices” Food security is generally broken down into four different components availability, access, utilization, and vulnerability each capturing different, but overlapping, dimensions of the phenomenon (Mauro et al, 2007).
Firstly, Food availability is achieved when sufficient quantities of food are consistently available to all individuals within a country. Such food can be supplied through household production, other domestic output, commercial imports or food assistance.
Secondly, Food access is ensured when households and all individuals within them have adequate resources to obtain appropriate foods for a nutritious diet. Access depends upon income available to the household, on the distribution of income within the household and on the price of food.
For persons living in urban areas, food access hinges primarily on the household’s ability to purchase food. Most urban poor neither have large food stores, nor do they have access to areas for own food production.
The urban poor often pay more for food purchases than do wealthier urban counterparts, as they are obliged to buy small quantities of food daily because they do not have the resources or living conditions which permit them to purchase and store large quantities of food at home.
Thirdly, Food utilization is the proper biological use of food, requiring a diet providing sufficient energy and essential nutrients, potable water, and adequate sanitation.
Effective food utilization depends in large measure on knowledge within the household of food storage and processing techniques, basic principles of nutrition and proper child care.
The primary factor effecting food utilization is individual health status. Illness and disease can lead to loss of appetite and poor absorption of the nutrients ingested.
Child caring practices are another important component of food security for children as they are reliant on parents and other caretakers to provide safe and nutritious food of adequate quantity and quality. Environmental contamination is a large factor contributing to poor food utilization.
The safety of food in the urban environment is a subject of concern. Street foods are often prepared under unhygienic conditions, and can contribute to outbreaks of food- borne illness.
The health status of any group will be influenced by access to services, including primary health care and education, as well as potable water, sanitation systems and general environmental conditions.
Fourthly, another concept is increasingly becoming accepted namely, “Vulnerability’’ (the risks that can disrupt anyone of the first three factors).
There are therefore, four major elements of food security. They are food availability, food access, food utilization and not loosing such access. Availability, access and utilization are hierarchical in nature.
Food availability is necessary but not sufficient for food accessibility and access is necessary but not sufficient for utilization. In a larger sense, two broad groups of factors determine food security. These are supply side factors and demand side factors.
The supply-side factors are those that determine food supply or food availability. In other words, they are determinants of physical access to food at national, household and intra-household levels.
The demand side factors on the other hand are factors that determine the degree of access of countries, households and individuals to available food. They are, in other words, determinants of economic access to food or determinants of entitlement to available food.
The minimum is related to, among other things, body size, weight, sex, nature of work and, for women, pregnancy or lactation status. Food security at the sub-national level means the assured availability of food for individual households to draw on to meet their minimum consumption requirements during a given period.
To be operational, the concept of “minimum” has to be modified here to reflect, at least partially, tastes and preferences and household status. National food security is the sum of household and sub-national food security, and more. At the national level, food security can be defined as assured national availability of food to meet current minimum requirements per capita during a reference period (a year normally) and, also, to meet any unexpected shortfall over a limited period (say three months).
Global food security is the assurance of an adequate food supply and/or access to it for all, both at national and sub-national levels.
According to Muhammad (1987), Food security has been defined as the ability of food-deficit countries or regions, or household to meet target consumption levels on year to year basis. Food security has two facets:
a) The real family income of the vulnerable groups may be too low to provide the basic food requirements for all members of the family even in years of normal and above normal domestic food production.
b) It may be due to reduced domestic production or policy changes and a major dislocation in food imports, which reduces the overall per capita availability of food in the country, even though the average income is adequate to purchase food at normal prices, if available.
Food security is the inability of poor countries, poor families and poor individuals to purchase sufficient quantities of from existing supplies. Improving food security requires both increasing the purchasing power of the poor and boosting overall food production.
Developing countries can develop a two-pronged strategy to promote food security. In the long run, efforts must be made to increase the purchasing power of the poor by raising the overall level of food production in the third world. Increased food supplies and purchasing power must be inextricably linked to elements of any long-term food security efforts.
In the short run, redistributing food supplies from the developed to the developing world is likely to be the best way to meet the more immediate food security needs of the poor. (Mellor, 1988)