Farm-related determinants of food insecurity among livestock dependent households in two agrarian districts with varying rainfall patterns in Ghana

Francis Sena Nuvey, Priscillia Awo Nortey, Kennedy Kwasi Addo, Adolphina Addo-Lartey, Katharina Kreppel, Clarisse Abikpo Houngbedji, Gladys Dzansi, Bassirou Bonfoh

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


BackgroundDespite availability of sufficient arable land, many African countries continue to dawdle in agricultural productivity due to over-reliance on rainfall patterns. Thus, undernourishment levels are disproportionately high in Africa. Even though they play key roles in agricultural production, the food security (FS) levels of livestock dependent households are understudied. Our study assessed the FS level and its determinants in livestock farming households in Ghana. MethodsWe compared the FS levels of 287 cattle producing households in two representative agrarian districts with varying rainfall patterns in Ghana (dry vs. wet), using a cross-sectional survey. We assessed household's FS using the Food Insecurity Experience Scale. FS scores and categories were computed, and using generalized linear models, we assessed factors that explained variations in the FS levels among households. ResultsThe median herd size of households was 31 cattle (lower quartile = 24, upper quartile = 60 cattle), with a majority (91%) engaged in crop cultivation. Households reported experiencing an average of eight adverse events over a five-year recall period (2014-2018) mainly from animal diseases, cattle theft, and pasture shortages. Most households (81%) were food insecure (moderate = 40%, severe = 41%). In an adjusted model, households raising cattle in the dry district [adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 5.43, 95% CI: 1.94, 15.2] and being married (aOR = 9.48, 95% CI: 2.35, 38.3) were associated with moderate food insecurity. While households raising cattle in the dry district [adjusted Odds Ratio (aOR) = 4.17, 95% CI: 1.44, 12.0], being married (aOR = 3.55, 95% CI: 1.03, 12.2), and increase in number of adverse events experienced (aOR = 1.53, 95% CI: 1.20, 1.96), were associated with increased odds of severe food insecurity. Household's odds of severe food insecurity decreased with each additional head of cattle in their herds (aOR = 0.97, 95% CI: 0.96, 0.99). We find no evidence of effect modification by farming district on other predictor's effect on food insecurity. ConclusionMost of the livestock dependent households are food insecure. The food insecurity levels are worse for households farming in dry areas, those married and who experience increased frequency of adverse events. Government policy interventions focusing on maintaining healthy, secure, and productive animal herds would contribute to improving the productivity of household herds, food safety and food security.

Original languageEnglish
Article number743600
JournalFrontiers in Sustainable Food Systems
Number of pages11
Publication statusPublished - 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • food security
  • livestock dependent population
  • adverse events
  • Ghana
  • rainfed

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