Analysing food security status among farmworkers in the Tshiombo Irrigation Scheme, Vhembe district, Limpopo Province.
Mudzielwana, Rudzani Vhuyelwani Angel.
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Historically, South African rural households produced most of their food. Recently, rural households depend on market purchases, and possibly from neighbours. Currently, unemployment and lack of access to irrigable land, to own or lease, has affected livelihoods patterns of the rural poor, such as farm workers. The lack of financial resources leads to poverty and hinders the ability to purchase food at the household level. This study assessed food security status among farmworkers and land lessees’ households in the Tshiombo Irrigation Scheme, Vhembe District, in Limpopo Province, with 51%.8 food secure, 7.3% mildly food secure, 19.9% moderately food insecure and 20.9% severely food insecure. The study aims to contribute to a better understanding of the relationship between rural livelihoods and food security status among farmworker households. A simple random sampling technique was used to select 191 farmworker households. A structured questionnaire was administered, and a focus group discussion and key informant interviews were conducted for data collection. The Binary Probit regression model was used to analyze livelihood diversification strategies among farmworkers’ households. The results showed that the gender of a farmworker (p<0.05), number of farmworker’s dependents (p<0.01), and access to the market (p<0.05) were statistically significant factors that positively influenced farmworker household’s livelihood diversification. However, employment type (p<0.01), years of farming experience (p<0.01) and leasing land (p<0.05) were found to negatively influence irrigation farmworker’s livelihood diversification. The Multinomial Logistic regression model was used to determine factors that influence the choice of livelihood strategy among farmworker households. Regression results showed that age of the farmworker (p<0.01), marital status of the farmworker (p<0.01) and (p<0.5), dependents of the farmworker (p<0.05), leasing land from employer (p<0.05) and (p<0.05), years of farming experience (p<0.1) and (p<0.01), agricultural training (p<0.05) and access to the market, significantly influence the choice of livelihood strategy.The Ordered Probit regression model was used for assessing the determinants of household food insecurity. The results showed that land size (p<0.05) and total household expenditure (p<0.05) positively influence farmworkers household food insecurity. Food stored (p<0.1) and leasing land from employer (p<0.01) had a negative influence on farmworkers food insecurity status. This study concluded that land leasing has the potential to improve food security status and enhance the standard of living among irrigation farmworkers. Therefore, the government, in collaboration with local authorities, should develop and implement effective policies to support farm owners to rent out irrigation plots to their employees as a way of addressing food security.