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Access to common resources and food security: Evidence from National Surveys in Nigeria

Pedro Andrés Garzon Delvaux and Sergio Gomez Y Paloma

Food Security: The Science, Sociology and Economics of Food Production and Access to Food, 2018, vol. 10, issue 1, 121-140

Abstract: Abstract Common resources (CRs) provide a “hidden harvest” for rural households and can also act as a safety net in the event of poor agricultural output or seasonal food gaps, hence contributing to food security. Yet only limited empirical research has assessed the relationship between CRs and the self-assessed food security conditions recorded among rural households. This exploratory paper draws on recent data from the Nigerian General Household Survey (GHS), a nationally representative sample of households administered in 2012–2013 as part of the World Bank Living Standards Measurement Study — Integrated Surveys on Agriculture (LSMS-ISA). A sustainable livelihood framework was used to contextualise CR access within the broader set of food security drivers. In Nigeria, access to common pasture and water resources is significantly associated with less reporting of food insecurity. In contrast, access to common forest tends to be associated with food insecurity, suggesting that households with access to common forest remain vulnerable (i.e. isolated from services and opportunities) despite having the advantage of the forest as a source of food. Echoing existing literature, the relative importance of these commons decreases when income of households increases. However, there are no clear signs that access to commons acts as a seasonal safety net for households during the lean season. The paper advocates streamlining CR data collection alongside agricultural data for a more integrated food security policy intervention aimed at the most vulnerable.

Keywords: Common resources; Wild foods; Food security; Hidden harvest; LSMS-Isa; Nigeria (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:spr:ssefpa:v:10:y:2018:i:1:d:10.1007_s12571-017-0757-0