This study has aimed at examining the small holder farmers’ coping strategies to sustained household food insecurity and hunger in Southern Ethiopia (Sidama Zone). In order to collect the required input data, a comprehensive interview schedule was developed. The data were collected from 614 households who were selected through two-stage probability sampling technique. The association of each predicting variable and the dependent variable (coping strategies), controlling for all confounding factors, was examined using the multivariate analysis. The result revealed that about 54% of the households were facing mild to severe food insecurity, and of which, about 19% fall in household hunger category (as measured by Household Hunger Scale) for more than six months of the year. The study further showed that households in the study area employ a range of coping strategies to respond to the high and sustained food insecurity and hunger, ranging from minimizing the number of meals and amount of food consumption to out-migration of household members during chronic food shortage. The findings of the multivariate analysis using multiple regression technique documented that some demographic and socio-economic variable (such as age of the household head,
educational status, access to main social service and others) have associations with the number of coping strategies practiced by the households. Finally, few recommendations were given based on the key findings of the study, which includes promoting income-generating activities, enhancing the micro-financing efficiency, creating employment opportunities at local areas to deter unskilled labor migration, on farm diversification and the like.
Key words: Climate change, food insecurity, copying strategies, Southern Ethiopia, Sidama Zone
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