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  • Published on: 14th September 2019
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Food security is referred as a situation when: “all people, at all times, have physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life,”(FAO, 2010). Food security depends on availability and stability of food, access to food, and utilization of food (FAO, 2008). On the other hand, food insecurity exists when food is not easily accessible and households have difficulty securing adequate and nutritious food (Wakibi et al., 2015).Food insecure households can be described as those whose members do not have physical and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (Icheria, 2015). Food insecurity may be caused by the unavailability of food, insufficient purchasing power, inappropriate distribution or inadequate use of food at household level (FAO, 2008).

The four components of food security are stipulated as: availability, access, utilization and stability as explained below;

2.2.1 Food Availability

Food availability plays a very important part in food security. It refers to the production, distribution, and exchange of food in appropriate quality for people to meet basic food needs and this can be supplied through household's own production or import (FAO, 2015). Food availability at household level can be described as the physical existence of food, from a household's own production or from markets, including commercial food imports and food aid (Bunyasi, 2012). In evaluating food availability factors such as adequacy of dietary energy supply, average supply of animal-source proteins and the average value of food production are considered (Oyiga et al., 2011).

Food supply per person in developing nations in the last 2 decades has grown faster than the population and quality of dietary has also improved(FAO, WFP and IFAD, 2013).For instance, per capita availability of fruits and vegetables increased by 90%, livestock products by 70% and vegetable oils increased by 32% since 1990–92. This has translated into generally improved diets, including a 20 percent increase in protein availability per person. In SSA food availability has increased by nearly 12% since (1990-92 and 2012-14) (FAO, 2015). In this period, countries such as Ethiopia experienced increase in food availability of 41%, Mozambique as well 41%, Cameroon 27%, Sao Tome 23% and Malawi 26% (FAO, WFP and IFAD, 2013).

Climate Implication on Food Availability: The most notable effects of climate variability on food availability is through changes in production. Extreme weather events such as floods and droughts disrupts production cycles (Sianungu, 2015). Climate affects food production directly through changes in agro-ecological conditions and indirectly by affecting growth and distribution of incomes, and thus demand for agricultural produce (Zewdie, 2014). Warming of over 3 °C will have negative effects on crop production. Moderate warming of 1°C is expected to boost crop and pasture yields in temperate regions, while in tropical and semi-arid regions, it is likely to have negative impacts to cereal crops (Baldos and Hertel, 2014).

2.2.2 Food Accessibility

Food accessibility is referred to a household's ability to access food of the required type, quality, and quantity through production, purchase, gifts, borrowing or aid. Food access is directly linked with a household's economic ability to afford the food needed for an active and healthy life (FAO, WFP and IFAD, 2015).The ability to acquire food is influenced by physical and financial resources (affordability, allocation and preferences) Zewdie (2014).Physical availability of food is not sufficient to an individual to have access to food. There may be food available in the market but some households may not access it (Belloumi, 2014).

Food access is influenced by physical access which is determined by infrastructure, economic access which is determined by disposable income, food prices and the provision of and access to social support, thus insufficient access to food could be ether a result of high prices in the market or lack of capacity to acquire food (Kabunga et al., 2014) and sociopolitical access for example traditional rights to common resources (USAID, 2013).

Access to food is often measured using proxy, entitlements-based indicators such as food consumption, food price monitoring, income, or assets. It reflects the demand side of food security, as manifest in uneven inter- and intrahousehold food distribution and in the sociocultural limits on what foods are consistent with prevailing tastes and values within a community. It accentuates problems in responding to adverse shocks such as unemployment spells, price spikes, or the loss of livelihood-producing assets. (Poppy et al., 2014).

In Sub Saharan countries, households fail to access food for many reasons like high food price, access to markets, and the level of poverty, employment condition, educational status and property rights. This will affect Sub Saharan Africa population that relies primarily upon subsistence agriculture, markets has long been important as a secondary source of food (Zewdie, 2014).  The attempt to measure food accessibility is new and involves a lot of difficulties since households or individuals have many ways to react to shock. Some of the indicators that have been put into consideration include; affordability or how well consumers are able to buy food, money spent on food, market access, although a close market with food does not mean that the household is food secure (FAO, WFP and IFAD, 2015).

Climate Implication on Food Access:  Climate variability is expected to place a strain on infrastructure. After production food needs to be transported to the consumption point. How fast depends on the transport systems. Inefficient transport structures delay the delivery and increase food prices (Zewdie, 2014). Increased exposure to extreme weather events such as floods and droughts will reduce people's access to Entitlements and undermine their food access. The enjoyment of entitlements that determine people's access to food depends on food allocation, affordability, and availability USAID, (2013). Climate variability as well hinders food access through its effects on production. Limited production means scarcity in the market hence high prices (Porter et al., 2014).

2.2.3 Food Utilization

Food utilization refers to the individual or household capacity to secure essential nutrients from food consumed or how well individuals utilize the food they access(FAO 2011).Utilization encompasses the nutritional value of the diet including how food is used, whether food has sufficient nutrients and whether a balanced diet can be maintained (Zewdie, 2014). A house that has physical as well as economic access to food could be food insecure if it cannot get a balanced and nutritious diet. These factors are influenced by food preparations, nutrition knowledge, health care, access to clean drinking water. These are especially limited if not absent in most SSA countries where malnutrition is widely spread (Oyiga et al., 2011).

Utilization reflects concerns about whether individuals and households make good use of the food to which they have access. Do they consume nutritionally essential foods they can afford, or do they choose a nutritionally inferior diet? Are the foods safe and properly prepared, under sanitary conditions, so as to deliver their full nutritional value? Is their health such that they absorb and metabolize essential nutrients? Utilization concerns foster greater attention to dietary quality, especially micronutrient deficiencies associated with inadequate intake of essential minerals and vitamins. (Poppy et al 2014).

Outcome indicators of food utilization convey the impact of inadequate food intake and poor health. Wasting, for instance, is the result of short-term inadequacy of food intake, an illness or an infection, whereas stunting is often caused by prolonged inadequacy of food intake, repeated episodes of infections and/or repeated episodes of acute under nutrition. Prevalence rates for stunting and underweight in children under five years of age have declined in all developing regions since 1990, indicating improved nutrition resulting from enhanced access to and availability of food.  (FAO, IFAD, WFP, 2013).

Climate Implication on Food Utilization: Changes in climate affect production rate and different food items and this may hinder the nutritional requirement of a household. Climate variability as well can affect the income and the ability of people the required foods to attain a well-balanced diet Belloumi, (2014). On the other hand, when food is not available, the variety of food items normally decreases, and so the number of meals can decrease thus low balance of nutrients (Sianungu, 2015).

2.2.4 Food Stability

Food stability is determined by the temporal availability of, and access to food. Stability underpins the other three pillars and captures the level of uncertainty or vulnerability to future disruptions in food security. For instance, food chains, storage, processing, distribution and marketing processes contain in-built mechanisms that have protected the global food system from instability in recent times (Bunyasi, 2012).Risks to stability include climatic conditions, conflict, price shocks, production and supply, swing in food and input prices and disease, among other factors(FAO, WFP, IFAD, 2013).

Climate Implication on Food Stability: Increased extreme weather events will destabilize the local food system hence increased cases of food emergencies. Unpredictable weather can lead to unstable harvests hence instability of food production (FAO, 2008).

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