Prevalence of household food insecurity in wetland adjacent areas of Uganda
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Food insecurity is a critical problem affecting about 6.3% of the households in Uganda, with about 21% of the remaining households on the brink of becoming food insecure due to poverty, inequality and droughtrelated extreme weather events. Until recently, studies have shown that the semi-arid areas of Uganda experience food insecurity more than other parts of the country. Although wetlands significantly contribute to food security, over 80% of the households inhabiting wetland adjacent areas in Uganda are perceived to be food insecure. The purpose of this study was therefore to determine the prevalence of food insecurity in the wetland adjacent areas of Uganda and the socio-economic and demographic factors that influence household food insecurity in these areas. Methods: A cross-sectional survey of 520 households was conducted in areas adjacent to wetlands in Uganda. Oneway analysis of variance and Chi-square test of independence were conducted to determine the association between the socio-economic and demographic characteristics of households and household food security status. Results: The study revealed that about 93% of the households in the wetland areas of Uganda were food insecure. Household food insecurity in these areas was significantly associated with the wetland systems, living in a permanent house, group membership and off-farm employment of the household head. Households with fewer adult members were significantly food secure compared with those with more adults. In addition, households headed by educated people were significantly food secure compared with those headed by less educated people. Conclusions: Households in the wetland areas in Uganda are generally food insecure, the primary reasons being poverty, low labour productivity (and/or unemployment), and low levels of education. Unless government and civil society promote food and nutrition education, income generating activities, drought resistant crop varieties and water conservation to farmers, food insecurity in wetland areas in Uganda could further drive wetland degradation, malnutrition and public health challenges.