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Perception of risk and coping mechanisms by female-headed Householdsin Ambo district of Ethiopia

Author: 
Mulu Debela Ofolsha, Fikadu Abdise Erena and Dr. J. Paul Mansingh
Subject Area: 
Social Sciences and Humanities
Abstract: 

Risks are events, trends and structural factors that threaten food supplies, access or utilization. Risks have effects at different levels from individual to global or regional level. Although risks affect everyone, it is not gender neutral. African smallholders show wide diversity in perception, adaptations and responses to internal and external challenges. A more comprehensive understanding of the rural women perception of risk along with reasons why female-headed households develop and use certain risk management strategies need to be studied. The study area Ambo district is located in West Shewa Zone, Oromia Regional State, Ethiopia. The study area was stratified into relatively higher-potential and relatively low-potential using agro-ecology and nearness to market as criteria to capture the different farming systems and its exposure to risk. Then three kebeles from relatively high potential and two kebeles from relatively low potential were selected using simple random sampling technique. Further stratified into male- and female-headed households and finally all the 104 Female-Headed Households in the five kebeles were selected for the study. Standard tools of structured household survey interview schedule and checklist were designed and used. Descriptive statistics such as mean, percentage, frequency were used and results were transcribed, interpreted and analysed accordingly. The study indicated that majority of the respondents perceived social-cultural problem, health problem, lack of labour & oxen, share/rent cropping, and lack of access to potential non-farm and off-farm along with startup capital as major sources of risk. The livelihood diversification strategies adopted were: income diversification, crop diversification and livestock diversification. Income diversification strategies followed were: diversification of resources and enterprises like depending on non-farm activity, share cropping, engage in prostitution, send household members for work; whereas crop diversification was reliance on some ecologically well adapted crops like Enset production. Livestock diversification included small ruminant husbandry and adjustments within cropping and livestock systems. It was found that female-headed households lack productive resources such as farm land, cattle, male labour, social capital, non-agricultural income. Severity of risk and perception of risk were among the major factors affecting behavior of risk management. Thus, given, their vulnerable positions, female-headed householdss in their locality adapt and engaged in various coping mechanism to overcome food deficient.

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