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Food Security and Livelihood

Poverty results in people becoming vulnerable in economic terms. A significant vulnerability is in the area of sufficient income to support the family and to provide food to support the daily requirement for a healthy and fulfilling life. Tear addresses the basic need for income and food security in two ways:

  • Increasing the food production of local farmers.
  • Providing alternative sources of income for non-farmers, so that people can buy their food.

Food production is often limited by inadequate rainfall, poor-quality soils, poor farming methods, and crop types inappropriate for local weather conditions. Social factors also play a role, such as poor access to farming resources and insufficient access to markets to sell farm produce. Tear partners involved in rural development often have a programme to increase food security by addressing the limiting factors. Some of these can be addressed quite easily, whereas others can scarcely be influenced. Most food security programmes supported by Tear will include some of the following activities:

  • Training in farming methods, with focus on conservation practices
  • Introducing improved seeds or breeds
  • Grain storage
  • Supplying tools, veterinary medicines and other farming inputs on a cost-recovery basis
  • Water management
  • Introducing irrigation systems
  • Micro-credit facilities
  • Organising farmers in groups and unions
  • Value chain management and linking to the market

Income generation

Alternative sources of income can be generated by self-help groups. These are an important vehicle for people on the poor side of society, who have no access to commercial and official support for income generation. Members save small amounts of money, which combined together are sufficient for members to take a loan and start a small business. Nurturing such groups costs a lot of time and effort, but the groups are a very important means of personal development and economic improvement for the members.

The two approaches are often combined. In slum areas, self-help groups and small gardens are a means of helping people to take care of their basic food needs. Disaster risk reduction programmes in food-insecure areas combine improved farming with the building of personal and community assets as well as structures to act as a buffer in periods of low agricultural production.

Ontwerp & realisatie: Nilsson