Essays in rural household food security and nutrition in Ghana



Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



This dissertation analyzes household level food and nutrition security from three different viewpoints. The first essay uses data collected from 2260 rural households by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Feed the Future Program, and the Ghana Government Ministry of Food Agriculture to estimate the prevalence of food insecurity, and to analyze the factors that are associated with rural household level food insecurity. The study used the Food Consumption Score (FCS) as the index for assessing household food security status. The results showed that 66% of the sampled households were food insecure, whiles 17% were found to be on the borderline, and 17% found as food secure. Food insecurity was found to be more pronounced among female-headed households. The results from the ordinal logit estimation showed that improved education, increased household income, improved access to agricultural credit and large farm size increases the probability of households to be categorized into high food security status while increased food prices and large household size reduces the probability of households to be categorized into high food security status. The second essay focused on the impact of the government of Ghana Block Farm Program on rural households’ farm productivity, farm income, food security status, and nutritional status. The study used primary data collected from 504 households including both program participants’ households and non-participants households. The results of the study showed that participation in the block farm program had a direct significant positive effect on crop productivity and farm income. In particular, the program participation increased the productivity of maize, rice, and soybean by 19.4%, 16.3%, and 9.0% respectively. Also, the program participation was found to increase households’ farm income by 17%. Furthermore, the program’s impact on improving household food security status and household nutrition status were found to be positive, but not significant. The results of the study further revealed high prevalence of household malnutrition status as indicated by 80% of women of reproductive age being classified as energy deficient. The last essay used data from 504 households to develop food insecurity map and child undernourishment map, which provide visual information regarding the two phenomena in Northern Ghana. The food insecurity and undernourishment maps developed show that spatial patterns of food insecurity and undernourishment differ across different geographical areas, and across households within a particular area. The maps also show that food secure and well-nourished households are not isolated from food insecure households, but are spread across districts in Northern Ghana.



Food Consumption Score, Household Dietary Diversity Score, Food security, Malnourishment, Northern Ghana