Journal of
Geography and Regional Planning

  • Abbreviation: J. Geogr. Reg. Plann.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2070-1845
  • DOI: 10.5897/JGRP
  • Start Year: 2008
  • Published Articles: 385

Full Length Research Paper

Intra- household food allocation among adolescents in coffee farming households in Jimma Zone, South west Ethiopia

Getu Gizaw Haile
  • Getu Gizaw Haile
  • Department of Population and Family Health, Faculty of Public Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar
Kalkidan Hassen Abate
  • Kalkidan Hassen Abate
  • Department of Population and Family Health, Faculty of Public Health, Jimma University, Jimma, Ethiopia.
  • Google Scholar

  •  Received: 06 June 2018
  •  Accepted: 21 September 2018
  •  Published: 30 September 2018


There are wide ranges of factors that determine individual food insecurity within households. In cash crop area products are for market rather than for agricultural households that can cause food accessibility to a severe challenge. There is, however, a dearth of information about the food security status of adolescent living inside coffee farming households. The aim of this study is to investigate the prevalence of adolescent food insecurity and determine its factors among coffee producing districts in Jimma Zone, South west Ethiopia. Community based cross-sectional study was employed in coffee producing district in Jimma zone, from April-May 2016. A total of 550 households having adolescents were included.  Data were entered into EpiData and the analyses were made by SPSS version 20. Bi-variate and multivariable logistic regression was done  and  p-value  <  0.05  considered  as  a  cut-off  point  to  determine  statistical significance. Sixty percent of adolescents (60%) were found to be food insecure. Female adolescents [AOR=2.18, 95%CI (1.4-3.48)], household food insecurity [AOR=9.4, 95%CI (5.49-16.19)], male of household heads [AOR=2.77, 95%CI (1.44-5.33)], high dependency ratio [AOR=2.53,  95%CI  (1.447-4.446)],  not  formally  educated  household  head  [AOR=4.925, 95%CI (2.636-9.201)] and have no own land for farm [AOR=2.484, 95%CI (1.24-4.96)] were positively independent predictors of adolescent food insecurity. This study highlighted the problem of food insecurity in coffee producing farmers. Sex of adolescent, dependency ratio, sex of household head, household heads’ educational status, food security status of household and farm land owner ship are predictors of adolescent food insecurity. This pushes us to advance direct nutrition interventions focusing on adolescents to endorse catch-up growth and break the intergenerational cycle of malnutrition.


Key words: Adolescent, food insecurity, coffee farmer.


FAO (2009) says food security exists when all everybody has physical, social and economic access to sufficient, safe and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life (FAO, 2009) all the time. Food security has four pillars: availability, access, utilization  and stability. Availability (all
household members get reliable and consistent food), access (economic aspect of getting food), utilization (it is dietary intake and our body physiologic condition to absorb nutrient and food interaction to be absorbed) and finally, stability (FAO, 2009; US, 2010). FAO (2009) explains household food security as the use of food security concept to the household level, with individuals within households as the focus of concern (FAO, 2009). The interests of adolescent are not always clearly advocated in food security programs but as Feighery et al. (2011) affirm adolescents should be viewed as primary part of the solution to food security (Feighery et al., 2011) and their particular health needs (WHO, 2017). World populations quickly grow particularly in the developing world on condition that food security is challenging. The United Nations in 2017 estimate that by 2050 world populations will increase nearly to 2.5 billion people, among the greater part of this enlarge happening in the growing world. Moreover a lot of this growth will be along with adolescents, who will like compose half of the 2050 population. Because of these demographic transitions, adolescents are tremendously vulnerable to food scarcity. Moreover, current challenge of increasing food prices and crop loss from climate change weather patterns can make worse this vulnerability. The problem is much palpable in Ethiopia, which currently has the uppermost share of youth population at 21.8% for these reasons, they should focus on the overall youth group to address the developmental challenge associated with long term consequence of food insecurity (Lederer, 2017).
Though, there is a small number of studies that look at food security from adolescents’ point of view (Brooks et al., 2013). Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) is one method used to measure food scarcity at family level; it was used within two recent surveys in Ethiopia (Ethiopian Health and Nutrition Research Institute, 2009), and different studies in developing courtiers show that these qualitative self-reports give valid indicators of food insecurity at individual level (Frongillo et al., 2006; Belachew et al., 2013; Belachew et al., 2012; Webb et al., 2006; Belachew et al., 2011).
Currently, there has been mounting conversation in coffee industry on the determinant of food insecurity in coffee cultivating population. Small-scale producers are expected to provide 70% of the world’s coffee supply (Eakin et al., 2009). The remote countryside areas where the world’s most excellent coffee is grown are exposed to several food insecurity threat factors (CFS, 2012). This is not common to one exacting area or a division of the population. Many reasons hinder smallholders’ elasticity for making adjustments toward more productive or money-making crops, making to have insufficient cash to buy food; lack of time and/or land to contribute to cultivation of food crops (Caswell et al., 2012).
It is increasingly being recognized that one of the strategies used to reduce poverty and hunger is improving    food     security.   Despite     the   well-known development in financial growth and welfare enhancement in developing countries over the recent years, food security has not been achieved in most developing countries. Especially, food insecurity continues to form a deep-rooted problem in several sub-Saharan African (SSA) countries. FAO (2014)”s report indicates that the number of undernourished people in Africa is still high at 226.7 million (FAO, 2014). Even now, countries in the Horn of African are snowed under sensitive food security crises, making the problem of food security an issue of great concern to governments and the international community.
Even if it is clear that the household food insecurity condition represents the occurrence of individuals within the household, research – first from Asia – shows that this often is not true (Haddad et al., 1996). Different research centers on within-household favoritism against young children and women as some data show that young children are favored than adults in terms of food security (Leonard, 1991; Messer, 1997). There are works connected to food insecurity at the household level in reference to adolescents’ food insecurity. This is particular true for individuals in sub-Saharan Africa (Haddad et al., 1996). Issues concerning adolescent and food insecurity are especially few in cash crop areas.
Adolescence is a  challenging period for one’s path of life and one in which individuals are expected to make a chain of life span change into adulthood. Nutritional status of the adolescents can affect those key transitions. Food shortage can cause nutritional and health related problem in their later life span (Kuruvilla et al., 2016). The aim of the study is to have an understanding of the intra- household food insecurity in Jimma zone coffee producing districts by investigating adolescent food insecurity and its associated factor in Gomma, Manna and Limu- kosa coffee producing districts. Ethiopia remains the top producer of coffee in Africa and is the fifth largest coffee producer in the world. Our country is the origin of Coffee Arabica and frequently produces this in array. Coffee has soci- economic significance to the country. 95% of the coffee produced is organic as most of them are grown using traditional method without pesticides and fertilizers. These factors give Ethiopia a comparative advantage in the international specialty coffee market. Despite all these positive factors, the country contributes only 4.2, two percent of the total world coffee production (Francom and Counselor 2015; Tefera and Tefera, 2014), and food insecurity is a major challenge.
Rationale of the study
Currently, we have an extraordinary chance to advance the health of adolescents and answer more effectively to their specific requests. The global strategy of health of women, children and adolescents (2016-2030) identifies  adolescents  as  critical  in  attaining  SDGs (Kuruvilla et al. 2016). Adolescents constitute 16% of the world’s population. And they account for 6% of the world’s global burden of disease and injury. The recent very rapid reductions in mortality among infants and young children have not been observed among adolescents. Investments in adolescent health will bring a triple dividend of health benefits (for adolescents now, in the future and next generation) (WHO, 2017).
Ethiopia is one of the least developed countries in the world according to all measures of poverty. Even though the country has made improvement in economic growth over recent decade, food insecurity is marked. Previous studies have taken only the views of the household head into reflection in classifying food insecurity status of the household. By so doing, the potential of discrepancy experiences of food insecurity by individual household members was unnoticed. To date, however, due to limited information regarding food insecurity for adolescents within a household in coffee producing districts in Jimma zone, intra-household differences in food insecurity among adolescent have not been examined. This paper will address this research gap.


Study area and design
The study was conducted in Jimma Zone, Southwestern Ethiopia at community level. The study is a cross sectional design. Jimma Zone is known for organic Coffee Arabica production. The zone has consistent good rain (Lemessa, 2000); however, the climate of Ethiopia has changed. Ethiopia has been having increased temperature of about 0.3°C per decade (from the 1950s), and in some areas low rainfall (Farming, 2017). This can threaten the food security of the zone.
Sample size calculation and sampling technique
Single population proportion formula was used to determine sample size with the following assumptions: prevalence of adolescents’ food insecurity of 20.5% in Jimma Zone (Belachew et al., 2011); 550 study participants were proportionally allocated to each district; multistage sampling technique was used to get information. The inclusion criteria include: being a permanent registered farmer residing in the districts; at least one that has witnessed the latest harvest season with their adolescents.
Data collection and procedures
To collect the data an organized questionnaire was used. For households’ characteristics, mothers were our primary choice instead of fathers. Pretest was done on 5% nearby districts and all possible amendment was made. The final data were collected by trained nurses, while supervision was made by trained nutritionists. Ethical clearance was obtained from the Review Board of Jimma University, College of Health Sciences and local concerned boys.
Measurements and analysis
Adolescent   food   insecurity   was  calculated   with   a  customized version of the household food security scales by choosing the things that relate to their individual practices (Frongillo et al., 2006; Belachew et al., 2011, 2013, 2012; Webb et al., 2006). They were asked of their last one month’s own experience. Rarely, sometimes and often responses were coded as one and "never" responses were coded as zero; the responses were summed to produce an index of adolescent food insecurity and were further dichotomized as "food secure" for a score equal to zero "food insecure" and a score greater than zero. Household Food Insecurity Access Scale (HFIAS) version 3 was used to measure food insecurity, a tool that has been developed by FAO and FANTA and validated for use in several developing countries to assess household food security status including Ethiopia (Coates et al., 2007).
Data coding and editing was done manually; entry was done using Epi Data 3.1 version and then exported to SPSS version 20 for analysis. Data were checked for its distribution by P-P plot for all numerical variables and also multi-collinearity was checked. Frequencies and percentages of variables were produced and presented in table and graph; wealth index was generated using principal components analysis. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses were done to get this association: a p- value <0.25 and p-values < 0.05 respectively were the cut offs.


Adolescents’ socio demographic characteristics
More than half (56.7%) of the adolescents were females while their mean age was 13.37(SD=: 2.448). Regarding their educational status, majority of them attend secondary school 383(69.6%) followed by primary school 110(20%). Only 223(40.5%) of them have access to food outside their homes (Table 1).
Socio-demographic characteristics of household
Of the 550 households 469(85.3%) were rural residents and 81(14.7%) were urban residents. Four hundred forty five (80.9%) households were headed by males. Majority of the respondents 496(90.2%) were married. Regarding religion more than two third (69.8%) of the respondents were Muslims followed by 144 (26.2%) orthodox. Most (72%) of the households were Oromo by ethnicity followed by Dawero 81(14.7%). The mean household size was 5.89 (SD±1.65); concerning households’ dependency ratio, 168(30.5%), 200(36.4%) and 182(33.1%) had low, middle and high dependency ratio, respectively (Table 2).
Regarding their educational status 263 (47.8%), household heads have completed grade 1-8 followed by secondary education 164(29.8%); whereas most of spouses 262(47.6%) have completed grade 1-8. Concerning household wealth, 227(41.3%), 158(28.7%) and 165(30%) households have low, medium and high wealth index, respectively, while mean monthly expenditure on food was 1114.38 Birr (SD 641.8). More than two third (68.4%) husbands purchase food, whereas more than three quarter (76%) of households do not have access to savings and credit (Table 2).
Agricultural related characteristics
Majority 474(86.2%) of the households have their own land for farm. More than half (53.6%) don not use agricultural inputs and 58.4% do not use agricultural extension service (Table 3).
Prevalence of adolescent food insecurity
A high number of adolescents gave positive responses to reduction of meals (48.7%), 42.7% worry about food inaccessibility, 15.1% spend the whole day without food and 35.7% have never ask for food outside their homes (Table 4). In all the prevalence of adolescent food insecurity is 59.6% (Figure 1).
Prevalence of household food insecurity
From all the pictures of HFIAS, the proportion of household food insecurity was 75%. From this, 19(3.5%), 321(58.4%) and 72(13.1%) were mildly, moderately and severely food insecure respectively (Figure 2).
Factors associated with adolescent food insecurity
Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analysis was done using enter method to identify factors associated with adolescent food insecurity. On the Bivariate analysis, adolescent food insecurity had statistical  association  with  13 factors which had p<0.25.
Multivariable logistic regression analysis confirmed dependency ratio, sex of household head, household head educational status, land owner ship, sex of adolescent and household food security status as potential predictors of adolescent food insecurity (p<0.05) (Table 5).
By taking other variables constant female adolescents were 2 times more likely to be food insecure  than  male [AOR=2.18, 95%CI (1.4-3.48)]. Adolescents living in a food insecure household were 9.4 times more likely to be food insecure than their counterparts [AOR=9.4, 95%CI (5.49- 16.19)] and adolescent living in households without their own land for cultivating coffee were 2.5 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in households having their own land for coffee farm [AOR=2.484, 95%CI (1.24-4.96)]   (Table   5).   Adolescents   living   in female headed households were almost 2.8 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in male headed household [AOR=2.77, 95%CI (1.44-5.33)]. Adolescents living in household heads not formally educated were almost 5 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in households whose heads have secondary school education [AOR=4.925, 95%CI (2.636-9.201)]. Adolescents living in household whose heads have primary school education were 3.4 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in households whose heads have secondary school education [AOR=3.44, 95%CI (2.09-5.67)]. Adolescents living in a household with high dependency ratio were 2.5 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in households with low dependency ratio [AOR=2.53, 95%CI (1.447-4.446)]. Adolescents living in a household with middle dependency ratio were 2 times more likely to be food insecure than those living in households with low dependency ratio [AOR=2.04, 95%CI (1.2-3.480] (Table 5).


This study revealed that more than half (59.6%) of the adolescents were food insecure which was higher compared to a research conducted in Jimma which was 20.5  and   48.4%,  respectively  (Belachew  et  al.,  2011, 2012).The observed difference could be due to seasonal variation of food insecurity. This study was done in pre harvest (flowering) season of coffee which is more vulnerable to food insecurity. Female adolescents were more likely to be food insecure than their counterparts. This result is inconsistent with research conducted in Zimbabwe where there was no gender difference in adolescent food insecurity (Gundersen et al., 2007). In this study gender stratification might be due to the biased hoarding of food by elders and/ or males have more chance of getting food outside their home.
The findings do make sense in the socio-cultural context of Ethiopia, and definitely in many countries, where patriarchy is the dominant cultural model (Facio, 2013). This finding is best explained by other findings of the study, stating that only 28% females had access to food outside their homes compared to 56% of male adolescents who could access food outside their homes. The study showed majority (75%) households were food insecure calculated from full version of HFIAS tool. The adolescents living in a food insecure households were more likely to be food insecure than adolescents living in a food secure household. This finding is in line with the study conducted in Jimma zone (Belachew et al., 2012). This finding shows elders can give priority to younger children and in sever condition both can experience food insecurity.
In this study adolescents  living  in  a  household  in which the head has completed primary and secondary school were less likely to be food insecure compared to those adolescents whose households’ head are not formally educated (Oluyole et al., 2009; Birhane et al., 2014; Gecho et al., 2014). The possible explanation is educated parents can use advanced technology. Adolescents living in a male headed household were 2.7 times more odds of food insecure than their counterparts. It might be that most males that control financial assets like money spend it for other activity rather than food (Meinzen-et al., 2011). Adolescents who were members of households with high and middle dependency ratio were more likely to report food insecurity compared to those in low dependency ratio households. This study is similar to a study done in Jimma, Nigeria and USA (Belachew et al., 2012; Ojogho, 2010; Coleman-Jensen et al., 2013). This could mean that as the dependent age group size increases, there is larger number of people to be taken care of by the same source of income. Adolescents who are members of households without their own farm land were more likely to be food insecure than their counterparts. The reason is that households who rent land can pay the owner some portion of production from this plot.


Generally, it was found that there was high prevalence of adolescent and household food insecurity in the study area. Sex of adolescent, dependency ratio, sex of household head, educational status of household head, household food security status and farm land owner ship are predictors of adolescent food insecurity. There is need to improve direct nutrition specific interventions targeting adolescents. School feeding program should be an integral component of food security intervention to reduce intergenerational rotation of undernourishment. Multi-sectoral interventions approach should be improved to address multifaceted causes of food insecurity; gender equality and the status of women and girls through operative health information at ordinary level needs to be considered. Further research is required to seethe cyclic pattern of seasonal food insecurity in the study area using different methodological approach like longitudinal study.


The authors have not declared any conflict of interests.


Authors would like to express their thankfulness to respective data collectors, supervisors and study participants   for   their   diligence  and  devotion   in   the collecting and inputting high quality data used in the study.


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