Chiefdom development plan : implications for food security in Swaziland.
Mosisi, Moleka Pange.
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The Lower Usuthu Smallholder Irrigation Project (LUSIP) aims to reduce poverty and improve food security among rural households in Swaziland. Beneficiaries organise themselves into "agricultural cooperatives", each of which develops a unique Chiefdom Development Plan (CDP). The CDP process enables households to organise themselves into groups to access LUSIP and develop other focus areas for implementation. In addition to projects such as LUSIP, Swaziland has developed the National Food Security Policy to guide food security programmes in the country. This study set out to evaluate the CDP process to understand its successes and failures. The study evaluated the CDP against the four food security pillars that include food availability; food access; stability in equitable food provision; and food utilisation and nutritional requirements. The study explored four sub-objectives, namely: The way in which the CDP has been implemented; The extent to which the CDP met the process and outcomes criteria of land use planning; Whether the CDP has the probability of sustainability and whether it can be aligned with development planning models used by the government of Swaziland; Whether the CDP has been effective in achieving (i) the goals that have been set, including (ii) an improvement in food security. The study included a mixed method approach containing quantitative and qualitative data analyses, such as content, document, descriptive, and comparative analyses. In addition, the study included the analysis of the effectiveness of the CDP using the National Food Security Policy for Swaziland as framework for analysis for a comprehensive food security definition. Stratified random sampling was used to cover all the areas within the participating four Chiefdoms in the Lubombo Province. Accidental sampling was used to include a maximum of 260 households that had been involved in the CDP process. The study established that the CDP is a seven-stage process which is currently unique to Swaziland. The CDP is centered on the aspirations of the beneficiaries and it aims to identify resources, opportunities and challenges within the Chiefdom and transform them into a local strategy for sustainable management of land and water, to improve agriculture production and food security. The CDP had met all the process criteria. All the outcome criteria were met except that the households were not all positive (46.1%) on whether as a result of the planning land-use conflict had been reduced. Only few (23.8%) households understood that CDP is a framework but not a programme with a funding. The planning approach has been effective in fulfilling its primary goal of enabling household’s access to irrigated land and other water-related resources. Albeit some challenges in the planning process, this approach has a high probability of sustainability. The study concluded that even though effective, CDPs do not provide balanced support towards achieving all four food security pillars as some pillars are supported more than others. While food production may contribute towards availability and access of certain types of food, under-nutrition and risks such as drought continue to pose threats to productivity and stability of local agriculture and food systems. Therefore, the CDPs do not comprehensively meet food security objectives as per the National Food Security Policy for Swaziland. The study recommends that a review of the CDP process needs to be undertaken to ensure that all four food security pillars are included and that they reinforce one another. The CDP process needs to be cyclic rather than linear and include three explicit phases: objective setting, focus areas implementation; and monitoring and evaluation of the CDP outcomes and impacts. Beyond the need for better information sharing among policy makers and planners, government should adopt a national legislation requiring that community plans and implementation actions integrate key pillars of the National Food Security Policy for Swaziland to ensure the much needed comprehensive approach to improve food security in Swaziland.