Impact of climate change on food security in female and male headed households in the central cattle corridor of Uganda
Makanga, John Collins
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Food security in the central cattle corridor is greatly influenced by changes in climate since agriculture there is typically rain-fed. However, there is limited knowledge on whether farmers perceive climate change and how they are responding to the effects of a changing climate. Local perceptions cannot be estimated by models and the need to document how the lives of the local people are affected by the recent changes in climate. This study therefore examined how female and male headed households in the central cattle corridor of Uganda perceive food security and the effects of changes in climatic variables, and how they have adjusted their agricultural practices to cope up with the changes in climate. This study used a mix of qualitative and quantitative methods to collect data. Quantitative methods were used to collect numeric and quantitative data and qualitative methods and questions, on the other hand, were utilized to obtain an in-depth understanding/explanation to the quantitative data obtained by explicating why things are the way they are. Secondary data was collected through a structured review of documents relevant to resilience, climate change, gender and women and youth economic empowerment. Generally, majority of the households were headed by males (77%) and (23%) of the households were female headed. The number of parcels of land owned was slightly higher in male headed households (1.88 Parcels) than in female headed households (1.75 Parcels). Male headed households were found to have received more income in the last 12 months from crop production sales (UGX 3,126,855) than their female headed household counterparts (UGX 1,928,216). Disparities in income were apparent with male-headed households earning more than twice from livestock production (UGX 1,262,823) than female-headed households (UGX 545,728). Male headed households received much more annual income from off-farm sources of income (UGX 1,614,588) than female headed households (964,592). Actual adoption/use of CCA practices was higher in male-headed households as compared to the female-headed households. 15.11% of the male headed households changed cropping systems as compared to 12.75% of the female headed households. Male-headed households were found to have better food security indicators than female-headed households. Female-headed households were found to be more likely to employ negative household food security coping strategies than male headed households for example 29.89% of female headed households relied on less preferred or less expensive food as compared to 20.32% of the male headed households. A higher number of female-headed households (46%) were unable to meet their annual food needs. This was higher than that for men (38%). The study therefore demonstrated that women in the Uganda’s central cattle corridor were greatly affected by food insecurity and commonly face higher risks and greater burdens from the impacts of climate change in situations of poverty as compared to their male counterparts. The study recommended sex-disaggregated data in agriculture and food security be gathered, including on access to land and land tenure security, finance, extension services and agricultural tools. This would be helpful for gender-responsive policy design and monitoring.