Women and household food security: a case study of Songea rural District in Ruvuma region, Tanzania

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Food security refers to the availability of food supply to the entire society at all times. It involves a cycle of land preparation, tilling, planting, weeding, harvesting, transporting crops from farm to house, storing, processing, marketing, preparation, and serving food in hygienic manner. The main purpose of this study was to find out the role played by women in promoting household food security in Songea Rural District in Ruvuma region, Tanzania. A total number of 240 respondents were randomly and purposively sampled. Data were collected using questionnaires, observation, interview and literature review. The data collected were analyzed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Ver. 11.5) and presented in frequencies and percentages in various graphs. The study meant to cover the activities done by women to promote household food security; the impacts of technologies adopted by women on food in promoting household food security; as well as the constraints faced by women in the promotion of household food security. The study found out that, women also do non-farm activities to earn income to support household needs particularly food stuffs. Income activities include pottery, handcraft, and animal rearing among others, the income earned is having a substantial positive effect on the improvement and the sustainability of the household food security. Women have adopted some technologies such as shelling, winnowing, peeling, slicing, Sun drying, pickling, fermentation, juice extraction, salting and smoking which have enabled them to improve their roles as household heads and managers. The study indicated that the adoption of technologies have helped women to ensure food availability in their households. Hence, the study findings have confirmed that the women’ rate of adoption of technologies was high and thus they have enabled women to improve on their roles as household heads and managers. However, the women in the study area were having a number of challenges which reduce their efficiency; the mentioned challenges were problems of land and property ownership, access to credit and marketing facilities and access to information. These challenges were accelerated by social and economical factors. The study recommended putting in place considerations in improving women’ decision making authority, increasing access and control over land and inputs, improving access to credits and finance, increasing access to information to increase women’ control over organization of production.
A dissertation submitted to the department of environmental management in partial fulfillment of the requirement of the award of the Bachelor Degree of Science in Environmental Management
food security, Women and household, Ruvuma region