The contribution of adopting organic farming practices to household food security (a case study of Dovehouse Organics)
Ndlovu, Angel Silindile.
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Adoption of organic farming improves production over time, suggesting that it could be possible to feed the growing world population through food produced using organic farming methods. Globally, the consumer demand for naturally grown and healthier food has been growing, creating an incentive for farmers who are engaged in organic farming. This inquiry set out to investigate the extent to which adoption of organic farming methods or practices contributes to household food security. Analysis compared the food security status of nontrained farmers with farmers who had been trained by Dovehouse Organics (DVO) with a permaculture philosophy and organic farming practices. Data were collected from 100 sampled farming households (53 trained and 47 non-trained households) through the use of a questionnaire. The study used the Household Hunger Scale (HHS) to determine the food security status of the farming households. A linear regression model was used to assess the relationship between adoption of organic farming practices and household food security. Sixty-seven percent of the sampled households were food secure. About 87% of the farming households that adopted organic farming technology are food secure. Of the households that did not adopt organic farming technology, 55% are food insecure. About 89% of the trained farmers believed they were producing more than enough food for their needs, compared to 38% of the non-trained farmers. The results show that a large number of farmers adopted the organic farming practices that were offered at DVO in their daily crop production activities. There were various reasons for adopting the organic farming technologies, including improved production and yield, better pest management, and improved potential for having excess to sell. A positive relationship between adoption of organic farming practices and food security was observed, suggesting that as farmers adopt the organic practices into their farming systems, chances of being food secure increased. Adopting organic farming practices may have improved the food security status of organic farming households in Richmond. Similar studies with a larger sample size need to be conducted to ascertain the contribution of organic farming to household food security. In terms of improving the contribution of organic farming to food security, it is recommended that more training opportunities, production support and guidance be made accessible, particularly for emerging organic farmers who require information and advisors for guidance. Given the high market demand of organically produced products, further research into opportunities that organic farmers have for selling their produce would assist to diversify household income.