Frequency and extent of employing food insecurity coping strategies among rural households: determinants and implications for policy using evidence from Swaziland
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With the advent of climate change, the quest of improving household food security levels in developing countries where the majority predominantly relies on rain-fed agriculture continues to be a challenge. While some countries in Sub-Saharan Africa have made significant advances, Swaziland continues to suffer from the effects of more frequent droughts experienced recently than in previous periods, forcing households to rely on various food insecurity coping strategies. Ranked 35th out of 78 nations, Swaziland's Global Hunger Index (GHI) score increased by 38 % from 10.4 to 14.4 between 1990 and 2013. These indicators point to the need for empirical evidence to inform the process of developing comprehensive and self-sustaining rural development interventions aimed at reducing households' vulnerability to food-related shocks. To this end, this paper uses national survey data to examine the main factors associated with food insecurity and subsequent use of coping behaviours by a sample of 979 rural households. About 70 % of the sampled households were found to have employed food insecurity coping strategies after experiencing food or income shocks in the recent past. The lognormal Tobit results revealed that the frequency and extent of employing food insecurity coping strategies were significantly associated with gender of household head, household size, dependency ratio, education, household income, land area cultivated, technology adoption, morbidity, and location of households in terms of agro-ecological zone. Given these findings, the paper concludes by highlighting the required policy intervention avenues.