An analysis of the coping strategies to food shortages in Rushinga district of Zimbabwe: The Case of Ward 15
Zhangazha, Tatenda B.
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The occurrence of droughts and famines which exacerbated the occurrence of food insecurity has been common in the history of Rushinga District. Food shortages still remain a critical issue in developing countries like Zimbabwe. Therefore the objectives of the research were to identify coping strategies introduced to mitigate food shortages, to examine the impacts of the coping strategies implemented on improving food security, to establish the challenges faced by communal people or farmers in the ward towards addressing the food shortage crisis in the study areas. During this study I used both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies with data collection methods which included questionnaires, focus group discussions, observations and interviews. The results of the research pointed out that the households used the coping strategies which include conservation farming, irrigation farming, micro-finance credit schemes, drought resistant crops, government support (food aid), food for work, master farmer training and child supplementary feeding and nutritional gardens. It further interrogated that, the most effective strategies include food for work, irrigation farming, and government support (even food aid from other NGOs). The others strategies though adopted but work less effectively especially conservation farming, poor extension service delivery and child supplementary feeding and nutritional gardens. The implementation of the coping strategies introduced were affected negatively by the following challenges corruption and nepotism in distribution of food and inputs from government and NGOs, lack of capital, poor micro-finance credit schemes, illiteracy, poor extension service delivery, frequency occurrence of drought (the recent El Nino drought in Zimbabwe) and since the area is mainly dominated by old age people they rely on their old cultural methods of farming. It is recommended that the government should articulate policies and programmes that should provide the households with access to facilities for agricultural development in rural area. There is need for emphasizing awareness operations and membership drives in rural areas. Hence households become empowered and boost their access to farming information on the coping strategies established to reduce food shortages.
- Department of Geography