University of Twente Student Theses


Mapping soybean expansion and the impact on food security among smallholder farmers in Zambia

Chota, Bright Nkole (2023) Mapping soybean expansion and the impact on food security among smallholder farmers in Zambia.

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Abstract:The rapid expansion of soybean cultivation and the impact on food security in southern Africa remain inadequately documented and understood. Existing studies predominantly concentrate on assessing the income generation potential at the household level, neglecting the broader implications for food security. This study utilized remote sensing (RS) techniques and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) to analyze the expansion of soybean farming in the Chibombo district of Zambia. High-resolution satellites of Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 data along with the ground-based data were integrated into random forest machine learning algorithms to accurately map different land use/land cover types for the years 2017, 2020, and 2023 respectively providing reliable information on land use/land cover changes. The overall accuracy for the 2023 classification results was achieved at 86% indicating a significant expansion of soybean cultivation by 156.6% from 2017 to 2023 while other food crops showed contrasting trends. The classifier model was transferred to the years 2017 and 2020, for which ground-based reference data was unavailable. The classification results were validated using statistical data from the crop focus survey (CFS) with no significant differences in cultivated soybean areas. This approach enabled the study to accurately identify soybean cropland areas and assess the implications of soybean expansion on food security at the household level To assess the impact of soybean expansions on the food security situation in the study area, two scores, namely the Household Dietary Diversity Score (HDDs) and the Household Food Insecurity Access Score (HFIAs) were used to measure food security at the household level. The results for HDDs revealed that a significant proportion of households in the Chibombo district have low or moderate dietary diversity. 40% of households had a low dietary diversity score, 40.4% had a moderate score, and only 19.6% had a high score. The HFIAs indicated a high prevalence of food insecurity among smallholder farmers in the study area. 50.8% of households were severely food insecure, 28.7% were food secure, and 20.4% were moderately food insecure. This suggests that a substantial number of households are facing challenges in accessing sufficient and nutritious food. The spatial distribution analysis of HDDs and HFIAs in each ward, considering soybean cultivation areas, showed discrepancies in dietary diversity and food accessibility. While some wards exhibited a higher percentage of households with low dietary diversity, others demonstrated greater diversity. Similarly, food insecurity levels varied across wards, with some facing substantial challenges while others had relatively higher food security. Interestingly, the study found no clear correlation between soybean cultivation area and HDDs or HFIAs. Wards with larger soybean areas did not consistently show better food security outcomes, suggesting a potential mismatch between soybean expansion and household food security indicators. Additionally, significant disparities in dietary diversity and food accessibility were identified among the various categories of major stakeholders involved in soybean production namely: the households who engaged in growing, expansions, selling, and utilizing the soybean commodity after harvesting. Across all categories, common elements such as the interquartile range, median values, and potential disparities in both HDDs and HFIA scores provided valuable insights into the distribution, central tendency, and variations in dietary diversity and food insecurity within each category. The results also indicated that there was no clear trend indicating that wards with larger soybean areas consistently had better HDDs and HFIAs. The overall findings of this study indicate that the expansion of soybean cultivation has a limited impact on enhancing dietary diversity and improving food security among smallholder farmers. This study provides a valuable foundation for informing nutrition-sensitive agriculture policies, about the effects of soybean agricultural expansions on the food security of smallholder farmers
Item Type:Essay (Master)
University of twente, Germany
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Subject:38 earth sciences
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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