The role of farmer field schools on household food security in the Karamoja Sub-Region of Uganda
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While food security is critical in fostering a country’s economic development, Uganda’s food security situation has globally declined and remains a big challenge at household level, most especially in the Karamoja sub-region. One of the popular tools put in place and disseminated world-wide by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) to promote household food security is the Farmer Field Schools (FFS). This study examined the relationship between households’ participation in FFS and their food security situation in the Karamoja sub-region of Uganda. To answer the objectives of the study, household survey data from 400 households in Abim, Kaabong and Moroto (three out seven) districts of Karamoja were collected in June and July 2017 and analyzed using the heteroskedastic ordered logistic regression model. Household food security was measured in likert scale (food insecure, moderately food secure and food secure) The food security index (FSI) analysis revealed that in 2017, households in Karamoja were moderately food secure and there were no statistically significant differences in food security among households in Abim, Kaabong and Moroto districts. Analysis of the relationship between household characteristics and food security situation in Karamoja revealed that households that were headed by men were significantly 1.93 more food secure compared to households that were headed by women. Also, households with higher income were 2.94 times more likely to be food secure than those with low income. Analysis of the relationship between household participation in FFS Good Agronomic Practices (GAP) training and food security outcomes in Karamoja revealed that the odds of a household in Karamoja having “food available” and being “food secure” was 1.79 and 2.51 times higher respectively than those of a household that did not participate in FFS GAP training. Further analysis indicates that the odds of food availability, food access and food utilization are 3.33, 3.63 and 1.68 times higher respectively for households that participated in FFS training compared to those that did not participate in the training. All the results were statistically significant above 5% level. From the findings of the study, it was concluded that FFS trainings play a crucial role of enhancing households’ food security. Also, it was concluded that households in Karamoja most especially women who engaged FFS, and low-income earners are not food secure. It was therefore recommended that: government and NGOs that are focused on household food security in Karamoja and the country at large should expound and adapt the FFS curriculum/methodology as a viable tool for enhancing farm-households food security; and food security support to households in Karamoja should be prioritized and targeted foremost to the poor and women-headed households.