An assessment of household food security in urban and peri-urban areas : a case study of Bindura Municipal area, Mashonaland central, Zimbabwe.
Urban household food security is gradually being recognised as a developmental challenge in sub-Saharan Africa, in general, and in Zimbabwe, in particular. The increase in the prices of food and high unemployment in Zimbabwe has made it difficult for the population, particularly for the urban poor, to meet their food requirements. This has affected the livelihoods patterns of the poor staying in urban and peri-urban areas. There are many complex reasons which make households food insecure. Poverty is mainly the driving factor due to lack of resources to purchase or procure food at household level. Poverty, combined with other socioeconomic and political problems, creates the bulk of food insecurity problems in urban and peri-urban areas. This study aimed to contribute to a better understanding of the nature and dynamics of urban and peri- urban household food security in Zimbabwe. The first objective of this study explored urban household livelihoods in Bindura Municipal area (Zimbabwe), by describing livelihood patterns, coping strategies and distinguishing between food secure and insecure households, using descriptive statistics. The second objective investigated the determinants of household food security among urban and peri-urban households. Lastly, the study evaluated the extent of urban and peri-urban household food security, by looking into their nutritional security and how this affects their welfare. Purposive sampling technique was employed to select 200 households in Bindura Municipal area. A structured questionnaire using multiple HFS measurement tools were used in this study, including Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS), Household Dietary Diversity (HDD) and Coping strategy Index (CSI). The ordered probit regression model was used for assessing determinants of household food security, using the HFIAS as the depended variable. The results revealed that educational level, occupation, household expenditure on nonfood items, marital status and gender significantly affect household food security. The Tobit model was used to measure the extent of households’ nutritional security, using HDD as an indicator of food security. The results indicate that educational level, occupation and household expenditure positively influenced household dietary diversity and sources of vegetables negatively influenced household food security. This study concluded that urban farming has the potential for increasing household food security; and that; the government in collaboration with local authorities, should develop policies that improve access to land, particularly in peri-urban areas.