Food security

Given our focus on climate change and how it affects livelihoods in southern and eastern Africa, Kulima has ample experience in food security issues.

Recent experience includes:


-Assessing the sustainability of a food security disaster risk reduction intervention in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique

Recognising that disasters such as floods and cyclones typically ruin crops before harvest, an ECHO-DIPECHO project in 2011 supported the use of early maturing crop varieties in flood and cyclone-prone areas in Madagascar, Malawi and Mozambique.  Use of early maturing varieties by farmers in hazard prone areas acts as a food security disaster risk reduction intervention in several ways.  Firstly, the shorter time required for the crop to reach maturity reduces the likelihood of crop loss due to  floods, cyclones and other natural hazards. Through attainment of early maturity, the crop is able to escape the peak hazard period.  Secondly, the short growing period required for such crop varieties could make it possible to produce a second crop on the same piece of land, thereby intensifying production and increasing yields.  The project implementer, FAO, commissioned Kulima to undertake a qualitative assessment of the sustainability of this intervention, in terms of whether farmers are willing and able to repurchase early maturing seed after three planting seasons (in terms of availability and affordability).

-Overcoming the barriers: How to ensure future food production under climate change in southern Africa

As part of its GROW campaign, Oxfam GB commissioned Kulima and the Climate Systems Analysis Group at the University of Cape Town to investigate how farmers have responded to current and past climate variability, and the extent to which these responses might be sustainable to ensure continued production levels under projected future climate change.  In addition to reviewing existing climate change and crop model projections, the study involved interviewing over 200 small-scale and large-scale farmers and agricultural labourers in Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.  Katharine and Tracy oversaw the research process, conducted in each country by a different Kulima associate, and led the production of the final report.


-Scoping study on climate change and food security in the southern African region

The Danish Development Research Network (DDRN) commissioned Kulima to produce a report that synthesised the results of recent research on climate change and food security within the Southern African Development Community (SADC), and mapped the institutions that were operating in the region linked to climate change and food security.  The report was compiled using desktop research based on the authors’ prior knowledge and contacts, plus internet and literature searches.  The purpose of the report was to identify gaps and opportunities for the involvement of DDRN.


-Producing an issues paper on climate change, food security and disaster risk management for an FAO expert meeting

FAO commissioned Katharine Vincent and colleagues from the Institute of Development Studies, Sussex, to produce an issues paper on climate change, food security and disaster risk management as input to an expert meeting to be held in Rome in February 2008.  That expert meeting was itself part of the preparations for a High-Level Conference on World Food Security and the Challenges of Climate Change and Bioenergy, held in Rome in June 2008.  The overall purpose of the High-Level Conference was to address food security and poverty reduction in the face of climate change and energy security, and recommend appropriate actions to be undertaken within the UN system.