Household food-security strategies and migration in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia: food-security strategies and migration

Lemlem Fitwi Weldemariam (Corresponding author), Patrick Sakdapolrak, Ayansina Ayanlade

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Food security has continued to be a global concern despite progress in the international agenda to reduce food insecurity over the last decades. A considerable number of populations are facing difficulties in dealing with hunger globally. Ethiopia is among the countries that face persistent challenges to achieving food security. However, the subjective dimension of food security has not received much attention in the food-security literature. This study, therefore, aims to assess food security in Ethiopia's Tigray region, using self-reported parameters to apply a household food-insecurity access scale (HFIAS) score, and also recording people's coping behaviors in the context of migration. We assessed how different livelihoods contribute to household food security where migration is assessed as adaptive livelihood and short term means of coping strategy during food insufficiency. Since food security is an outcome of livelihood, the paper further examines the need to integrate livelihood-based approaches to assessing food security. A qualitative research approach was used for the study, with Participatory Research Approach (PRA) methods and household interviews being employed to acquire the data. Data transcription, cleaning, coding, and restructuring were performed on the datasets while descriptive statistics, including frequency and cross-tabulation, were used in the analyses. HFIAS results show that the reversible coping strategies applied when food crisis persists include consumption of foods of the same variety or cheaper or less-preferred foods, remittance, reduction of food portion size, selling of assets, daily labor and borrowing money or grain. The livelihoods of the households perused mainly included agriculture, migration, and off-farm and non-farm activities. The results further revealed that all the households engaged in agriculture, with 67% of them owning an average of 0.5 ha of land. The major finding reveals that households with diversified livelihoods including remittance income were found to be more food-secure; therefore, we concluded that the overall livelihood has to be addressed to ascertain rural households’ food security.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere01801
JournalScientific African
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 507002 Population geography


  • Coping strategies
  • Food security
  • Households
  • Livelihoods
  • Migration
  • Tigray

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