The implications of climate variability and change on rural household food security in Zambia: experiences from Choma district, southern province.
The study analyzes the implications of climate variability and change on rural household food security in Zambia with specific reference to Choma district. The district like the rest of the country is grappling with the effects of climate variation and change as well as other factors that affect crop production, in particular, luck of farming inputs such as fertilizer and seed. However, the approach used in this study associates the rural household food security situation in the district to climate variation and change and the investigation focuses on two climatic factors, mean annual rainfall and temperature. The study was guided by one hypothesis which negated the existence of a significant relationship between climate variability and change, and the rural household food security situation in the district. Both primary and secondary data was used. In particular, primary data (through questionnaires) was collected from a sample survey of one hundred rural households taken from 23,356 rural households. Multi stage sampling was used to select both the study sites and the sampling units. On the other hand, secondary data in form of mean annual rainfall and temperature from 1976 – 2014 as well as while district level production of the staple (maize) for the same period was used. Trend analysis, multiple regression and frequencies were used to analyze these data. The results show that mean annual temperature had increased during the period while mean annual rainfall was characterized by inter annual variability. On the other hand, the results show that the rural household food security situation was fluid (not static) and that 78 percent of the rural households had experienced food shortages while 22 percent did not. However, the study established that the climate variables used the study did not have a significant effect on production of the staple crop (maize) and accounted for only 12 percent of the variation in production. Based on these findings, the study concluded that mean annual temperature and rainfall were not the main determinants of the rural household food security situation in Choma district. To deal with this minimum contribution of climatic factors to food security, the study recommends that rural households begin to adopt other crops other than maize that can perform well under the prevailing climatic conditions.