Food coping strategies in northern Ghana: A socio-spatial analysis along the urban–rural continuum
This paper (PDF) in Agriculture & Food Security focuses on how households cope with food shortages and how these food coping strategies vary along the urban–rural continuum. In peri-urban and rural areas, gathering of wild food and selling of charcoal was widely practiced, while in urban areas, most households tended to reduce the number of meals as a more frequent coping strategy. The study identified five coping strategies along the urban–rural continuum as the most severe in times of food insecurity, namely skipping a whole day without food, borrowing, buying food on credit, consuming seed stock and restricting adult intake in favor of children. Hunting, consuming less preferred food, taking occasional jobs and engaging in small trading were considered as not severe. Women in the study area participated in coping strategies which helped in providing food in many households, like trading items, shea butter processing and other handcraft. The authors recommend further support by respective institutions such as microfinance in providing financial means to start small business and establish trading cooperatives as a contribution to food security in northern Ghana. In general, study results reveal that food coping strategies vary in the urban-rural continuum in terms of frequency, severity and coping strategy. This information is useful for indicators to predict crisis (early warning), to understand shortfalls in access to adequate food (assessment), to allocate resources (targeting) or to track the impact of interventions (monitoring and evaluation).