AbstractsBusiness Management & Administration

An empirical analysis of aspects of food security in Zimbabwe

by Miriam Haatsari Marembo

Institution: Monash University
Department: Department of Econometrics and Business Statistics
Year: 2015
Keywords: Food security; Zimbabwe; BMI; Height; Smallholder; Drip irrigation
Record ID: 1043312
Full text PDF: http://arrow.monash.edu.au/hdl/1959.1/1170282


At the World Food Summit held in Rome in 1996, world leaders reaffirmed the right of each and every individual to have access to safe and nutritious food and to be free from hunger. The quest since then has been to halve the hungry population by 2015. To this effect, various measures aimed at improving food availability, accessibility, utilisation and stability at individual, national and global levels have been taken. Currently, capacity building interventions are being promoted as a more sustainable way of improving food security. Capacity building projects encourage the beneficiaries to utilise locally available resources to improve their food security. Whilst progress has been evident in other regions, regions like South-East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa are still lagging behind. A challenge thus remains of alleviating hunger in these two regions as the deadline for the attainment of the goal of halving the hungry population is fast approaching. This thesis analyses various aspects of food security in Zimbabwe, a country in Sub-Saharan Africa. Firstly, the relationship between short-term (BMI-for-age) and long-term (height-for-age) child health is assessed for children below the age of five years. Secondly, the contribution of maternal nutrition (denoted by the mother’s BMI) towards a child’s short-term nutrition (denoted by the child’s BMI z-score) is explored. Thirdly, this thesis assesses the merits of a capacity building project, the Smallholder Drip Irrigation Project, in alleviating household food insecurity in Mutasa and Mutoko districts of Zimbabwe. Two areas are examined; the determinants of dropout rates from and the duration a beneficiary lasts in smallholder drip irrigation projects and whether the project’s main goal of improving household food security was achieved. This thesis adds to existing literature on the relationship between short-term and long-term child health by using the Demographic and Health Survey data to assess this relationship for a poor country, Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe’s main challenge is that of underweight children as opposed to overweight children who have been the focus of most of the studies on the relationship between BMI and height. The results show that there is a robust negative relationship between BMI-for-age and height-for-age for children below the age of 5 years. This means that taller children (better long-term health) are more likely to be underweight (poor short-term health). In terms of policy, this result implies that targeting food insecure children using the BMI-for-age measure, as is the current practice will result in the selection of children with better long-term health. For Zimbabwe, the prevalence of stunting (low-height-for-age) compared to being underweight (low BMI-for-age) is higher. Thus if BMI-for-age is used, some children with poor long-term health may be left out. Policies aimed at targeting the food insecure should therefore consider incorporating the height-for-age measure as part of their targeting criteria. Existing literature on the impact of…