Research With Impact

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Despite the significance of climate change on household food security, little has been done to assess its effects on crop production and food consumption in South African rural communities. 

This according to a study by a group of researchers from the University of Fort Hare's Faculty of Science and Agriculture that has been published as a chapter in the Sustainable Agriculture and Food Security Book.
Titled, Coping Strategies and Determinants of Food Availability Amid Climate Change in Rural Communities of Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality, Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, the researchers aimed to determine the impact of climate change on household food availability in rural communities of the local municipality. The study was carried out in Mavuso village, about 6,5km from University's main campus in Alice (Dikeni)
The study is conducted by Thulani Ningi, PhD student in Agricultural Economics;  Dr Leocadia Zhou, Director of the UFH Director of Risk and Vulnerability Science Centre (RVSC);  Patrick Nyambo researcher at the UFH RVSC;  Saul Ngarava, former research assistant at the UFH RSVC and Martin Munashe Chari, a researcher at the UFH Department of Geography and Environmental Science.
A cross-sectional survey utilising a structured survey was used by the researchers to gather data from 117 households in the Raymond Mhlaba Municipality. The data was analysed using descriptive statistics, Household Food Consumption Score (HFCS) and binary logistic regression.
The research determined the impact of climate change on household food availability and found while the majority of households had high food availability, indicating that food availability is not a significant problem, access could be an issue
if no action is taken.
According to the results, in terms of household perceptions, the majority had heard about climate change; however, the majority had never received training on climate change to adapt to shocks caused by a change in rainfall and temperature. It also found that the majority of the households were not even aware of indigenous knowledge of forecasting climate change.
The chapter further concludes that factors such as being self-employed, receiving food aid, livestock diseases, distance to water sources, knowledge about climate change, male head responsible for cooking, and level of education determine food availability. The results support the hypothesis as most households in the study area are not directly coping with climate change but with food availability. On the other hand, it found that socio-economic and institutional factors drive food availability for rural communities.
The researchers suggest that socio-economic factors should be considered if sustainability in food security at the household level is to be achieved and that there should also be a promotion of entrepreneurship and self-employment if food availability is to be achieved within Raymond Mhlaba Local Municipality.