The Role of Women in Providing and Improving Household Food Security in Sudan: Implications for Reducing Hunger and Malnutrition

Article excerpt

Abstract

Relevant and consistent with the recent growing interest to assess the contribution of women to economic activities in Sudan, this study seeks to assess women's contribution to their household food supply and nutrition status in rural Sudan. As for the contribution of the research, the research is expected to contribute to improve the understanding of the important contribution of women to economic activities and in particular in providing and improving household food security in Sudan and thus valuing the potential role of women in reducing hunger and malnutrition.

Agricultural production (farm and livestock products) with supplemental resources (processed and preserved food items) and substitute resources (forest trees and wild food products) represent the available resources for the household food consumption in rural Sudan. Income generating activities along with other possible income sources (cash crops, trees products, pension, assets, remittance from migrants, and savings sources) provide household with income to afford foods. The finding of this study implies that in most rural areas in Sudan women are more capable than men in terms of the ability to use and allocate the available resources for the purpose to improve food security for their families.

For the purpose of this paper, improvement of the household food security refers to the expanding availability and accessibility of nutritional food on sustainable basis. In this regard this study has indicated that women in rural Sudan play a crucial role in improving their household food security, as they contribute to food production, enhance dietary quality and consumption diversity. Therefore, based on the findings in this paper, the major policy implication is that crucial role of women in this context can greatly be enhanced through adoption of supportive national and local development policy.

Keywords: Sudan, Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), Women, Household Food Security.

Abbreviations:

CPA Comprehensive Peace Agreement DPA Darfur Peace Agreement FAO Food and Agriculture Organization FHH Female Headed Household IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute MHH Male Headed Household SSA Sub-Saharan Africa

Introduction

The Sudan is the largest country in Africa, with the area of 2.5 million square kilometers. Sudan occupies the north-eastern corner of Africa, lying between latitude 4[degrees] N and 22.5[degrees]N and extends from longitude 22[degrees]E to longitude 38[degrees]E and it shares common borders with nine countries (Awadalla, 1999). The population of the Sudan is estimated to be between 32 and 34 million, some 70 percent of whom live in rural areas (IFPRI, 2006, p. 4). Women constitute about half of the population overall, but there are considerable differences among different parts of the Sudan. However, women make up the majority of people in rural areas of the Sudan due to rural-urban migration of males. Sudan is one of SSA, Middle East and also an Arabic country. However, it has much food production situation and women status of SSA, particularly in Western and Southern Regions of the Country. The majority of population in the Sudan and in SSA countries as well depends on agricultural activity as the main source of food and income. Agricultural production constitutes the main source of livelihood for more than 80 percent of the population in the Sudan.

Sudan is one of the wealthiest countries in Africa in terms of the natural resources. However, the country has failed to utilize these considerable resources to achieve sustainable development for its population this may be attributed to a number of interacting factors such as natural and socio-economic factors and tribal conflicts and civil wars. A Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was signed by the Sudanese Government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army on 9th of January 2005. Just as the southern Sudan's war seemed to be coming to an end, another war intensified in the Darfur region, Western Sudan in 2003. …