Zimbabwean PhD candidate, Bulisani Ncube, reports back on his research.

My research topic is on the impact of farmers’ seed security on household food security using Chimanimani as a case study. I have completed data entry and cleaning of 227 questionnaires of households from Chimanimani. I have begun a preliminary statistical analysis of my data focusing on the following:

  • Analysis of seed crops planted during 2015-16 season. This data includes crops planted, seed sources, amounts harvested, sold, and remaining. This was an El Nino year with below normal rainfall. The data shows that though over half of the farmers interviewed in both Chaseyama and Chukukwa planted the same seed quantities during 2015-16 compared to normal years, a large number in Chaseyama (43.4%) and Chikukwa (39.9%) also planted less. This could be pointing to seed insecurity issues during that year.
  • Analysis of seed crops planted during the 2016-17 season. This data includes crops planted, seed availability (sources, quantity planted, adequacy, timeliness), access issues (ways of acquiring seed, terms of trade, income sources and other household livelihoods), and utilisation issues (seed purity, and germination). These seed security components were compared across seed sources (formal and informal seed systems).
  • Analysis of food security of households (food eaten in the past, household dietary diversity analysis, food consumption score, and household food insecurity experiences).

My next set of interviews is planned for September 2017. I hope to do the following:
  • Conduct seed market surveys with agro-dealers.
  • Conduct in-depth interviews with extension officers across the two sites.
  • Conduct historical trend analyses with farmer groups across the two sites.
  • Conduct in-depth life history interviews or oral histories with a few individual farmers selected from the household surveys.