Food Security and Livelihoods Implications for Households left behind in the Northern Savanna Agro-ecological Zone in Ghana
There has been improvement in national food security in Ghana in recent times but there are also remarkable regional differences, with residents of the Northern Savanna Agro-ecological Zone being at the bottom. Some long term male migrants from Upper West Region leave their households behind; remit them cash, foodstuffs and other items in attempt to improve their living conditions. This has become one of the important household livelihood strategies in the migration discourse; but does this improve the food security in the households left behind? This study sought to compare the food security situation between migrant and non-migrant households. The research objectives were to identify and assess the strategies that households use to address food non-availability; and to analyse the implications of these strategies. The study was based on sustainable livelihoods framework, and it used semi-structured instrument administered through interview to collect primary data from
380 rural farming households selected through multi-stage sampling technique. Statistical Product for Service Solutions (SPSS) software and descriptive statistics were used to process and analyse the data respectively. The findings show that the main strategies for addressing food insecurity are reduction in number of meals, spending savings and consumption of less balanced meals. These have serious implications on the household capacity for sustainablelivelihood to facilitate exit from poverty owing to less nutrition and impaired health status, children’s absenteeism from school, reduction in assets, etc. On the basis of this, the paper suggests economic empowerment of rural farming households to enable them cater for their food needs as well as create wealth and thereby build their resilience against shocks.