Based on the already existing impacts of climate change, agro-ecological systems in Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) are the most vulnerable. This situation is further exacerbated by the high levels of poverty and weak infrastructure, with SSA grappling with food and nutrition insecurity, in the face of a growing population. Against this background, there is need to understand the social, economic and environmental factors that make farming rural households vulnerable. These factors consequently compromise smallholder famers’ agriculture production systems and food and nutrition security status in the short, medium and long term.
In May 2019, the Agricultural and Food-System Resilience: Increasing Capacity and Advising Policy (AFRICAP) Programme funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF) began the training of enumerators who will conduct the household data collection surveys in the four countries that are participating in the programme.
Household surveys are a key part of the planned activities of the AFRICAP Programme, and their purpose is to assess the food and nutrition vulnerability of households as a result of climate change and variability. This information provides a basis for strategic interventions as well as recommending a potential suite of fiscal and economic measures that can be deployed to improve the resilience of communities to climate change. Household surveys utilize a livelihood-based approach to collect and assess vulnerability data, thus classifying the assessed households into three different categories of vulnerability, namely, low, medium and high. The different categories allow for scenario planning, assisting in predicting likely outcomes for particular groups in the face of climate change. To ensure comprehensive understanding of households, the data collection tool focuses on three household aspects, namely: (1) production systems, (2) consumption and expenditure patterns; and (3) food and nutritional security; and five aspects of capital, namely; (1) human; (2) financial; (3) physical; (4) social, and (5) natural.
Zambia was the first AFRICAP country to undertake the exercise, with the FANRPAN Country node in Zambia partnering with the University of Zambia. The training of 10 enumerators was conducted from 29th April – 02nd May 2019, with survey of 400 households in Mkushi and Chibombo Districts commencing from 09th – 17th June 2019. Similarly, the FANRPAN South Africa node hosting institution, the National Agriculture Marketing Council (NAMC) in partnership with the Free State Department of Agriculture led the survey from 22nd – 31st May 2019. In all, 15 enumerators were trained from the 20th – 21st May 2019, and 400 households from Thabo Mofutsanyana and Lejweleputswa Districts in Free State surveyed. For Malawi, the training of 10 enumerators was led by the Civil Society Agriculture Network (CISANET) in partnership with Lilongwe University of Agriculture and Natural Resources (LUANAR) from 29th – 31st May. The survey is currently underway and is targeting 400 households in Balaka and Nkhotakota Districts. Activities for Tanzania are scheduled to begin in July, with the training of enumerators planed for 12-15 July and the field survey commencing thereafter. The FANRPAN Node hosting institution, the Economic and Social Research Foundation (ESRF) is working in partnership with Sokoine University of Agriculture.