Field and river

20th International Conference of Ethiopian Studies (ICES20)
Mekelle University, Ethiopia

"Regional and Global Ethiopia - Interconnections and Identities"
1-5 October, 2018

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Logan COCHRANE, Carleton University

Macro-level quantitative data based upon externally defined indicators of food (in)security are available for many areas of the world. This presentation will analyse the knowledge coproduction processes and outcomes of a research project that brought together community members in southern Ethiopia to re-define the indicators and stages of food (in)security based on their lived experiences, in order to enhance knowledge about food (in)security with micro-level qualitative data. Although significant resources and investments have been made in order to reduce vulnerabilities and expand livelihood options in rural areas, smallholder households continue to experience chronic poverty and food insecurity. In addition to analysing food (in)security, this knowledge coproduction approach sought to investigate why smallholder farmers do not adopt advocated agricultural changes, particularly within the context of their experiences of vulnerabilities to food insecurity. These findings were used to assess the appropriateness and suitability of services being offered to smallholder households. The results indicate that services need to be re-aligned and better tailored as the most vulnerable to food insecurity and/or those experiencing chronic food insecurity are being excluded from a number of existing supports. These in-depth community-level analyses shed light on how policies and programs, often designed at the national-level, may not be appropriately addressing the needs, vulnerabilities and strengths of smallholder farmers.