Intra-household differences in maize plot management and effect on food security: a case of Kamuli district
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This study analyzed intra-household differences in maize plot management and their effect on household food security using data collected from a sample of 920 farmers in Kamuli District as a case study. The data was collected in 2019 by icipe and Makerere University. The objectives of the study were; (1) to determine the proportion of households with jointly-managed maize plots and households with individually-managed maize plots, (2) to determine maize productivity on jointly-managed maize plots and individually-managed maize plots, and (3) to determine and compare food security status in households with jointly-managed maize plots and households with individually-managed maize plots. Objectives 1 and 2 were analyzed using descriptive statistics whereas objective 3 was analyzed using descriptive statistics and Poisson regression. Results from descriptive statistics showed that the proportion of households with jointly-managed maize plots (42.82%) were less than households with individually-managed maize plots (57.18%). In addition, findings revealed no significant difference between maize productivity on jointlymanaged and individually-managed maize plots. Concerning food security, households with jointly-managed maize plots were shown to be significantly more food secure relative to households with individually-managed maize plots. This is because the former have a higher household dietary diversity score (mean = 6.53, median = 7.00) than the latter (mean = 6.05, median = 6.00). Econometric results from the Poisson regression showed that maize plot management in households does not matter in household food security. The results however revealed that education of spouse, access to extension by male farmers, access to extension by female farmers, and the size of land allocated to maize significantly increase household food security. On the other side, household head, distance to the extension office, and crop diversity significantly reduce household food security. It is recommended that policymakers identify and address the causes of individual maize plot management rather than joint plot management to improve maize productivity and food security. In addition, extension services and better education should be provided to farmers particularly female farmers who exhibit a greater positive impact on household food security more than their male counterparts. Furthermore, policies that encourage the cultivation of more maize in terms of acreage should be adopted.