Prevalence of household food insecurity in East Africa: linking food access with climate vulnerability
The prevalence of food insecurity is much higher in East Africa than in other parts of the world. Climate change and associated variability are important contributors to food insecurity in the region. Using primary data collected in 2018/19 from Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania, this study examines the links between the prevalence of household food insecurity (the access to food dimension) and vulnerability to climate change in East Africa. The Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) was constructed to measure the prevalence of household food insecurity, and an ordered probit econometrics model was used to investigate the factors affecting the prevalence rates. The aggregate results show that 52% of the total sampled households in the region were food-secure; 15% and 26% were mildly food-secure and moderately food-insecure, respectively; and the remaining 7% were severely food-insecure. The ordered probit results suggest that exposure to climate change extremes and crop losses caused by these extremes significantly contribute to the prevalence of food insecurity across countries in East Africa. The results also indicate that households’ adaptive capacity plays a significant role in reducing the prevalence of food insecurity. The demographic/human, social, financial, physical, and natural assets/capital of the household also play a significant role in reducing household-level food insecurity in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Tanzania.