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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Sustain. Food Syst. | doi: 10.3389/fsufs.2019.00065

Experiences and Drivers of Food Insecurity in Guatemala’s Dry Corridor: Insights from the Integration of Ethnographic and Household Survey Data

  • 1Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom
  • 2International Livestock Research Institute, Kenya
  • 3Bioversity International (Italy), Italy
  • 4Centro Agronomico Tropical De Investigacion Y Ensenanza Catie, Costa Rica
  • 5Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science, School of Earth and Environment, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, United Kingdom

Eradicating hunger is a complex and multifaceted challenge, requiring evidence bases that can inform wide scale action, but that are also participatory and grounded to have local relevance and effectiveness. The Rural Household Multi-Indicator Surveys (RHoMIS) provides a broad assessment of household capabilities and food security outcomes, while ethnographic approaches evidence how individuals’ perceptions, experiences and local socio-political context shape food security experiences and intervention outcomes. However, integrating these research approaches presents methodological and ontological challenges. We combine a quantitative approach with life history interviews to understand the drivers, experiences and outcomes of food insecurity in Guatemala’s dry corridor region. We also reflect on the effectiveness and challenges of integrating the two methods for purposes of selective sampling, triangulating evidence, and producing a cohesive analyses of food insecurity in the region. Variables with a statistically significant association with severe food insecurity in the region are: coffee cultivation (when market participation is low), dependence on agricultural labour income, and poverty level. Drivers of food insecurity most commonly identified by experiences by participants are: consecutive drought; ill health and displacement of income for medicine; social marginalisation; high start-up costs in production; absence or separation of a household head; and a lack of income and education opportunity. Ethnographic approaches identify a broader range of drivers contributing to food insecurity experiences, and add explanatory power to a statistical model of severe food insecurity. This integrated analysis provides a holistic picture of food insecurity in Guatemala’s dry corridor region.

Keywords: Ethnography < Research methodology, Food security, Central America, Underlying drivers, Household survey, Agriculture, participatory, climate

Received: 04 Apr 2019; Accepted: 30 Jul 2019.

Edited by:

Ademola Braimoh, World Bank, United States

Reviewed by:

Alisher Mirzabaev, Center for Development Research (ZEF), Germany
Nicholas R. Magliocca, University of Alabama, United States  

Copyright: © 2019 Beveridge, Whitfield, Fraval, van Wijk, van Etten, Mercado, Hammond, Davila Cortez, Gabriel Suchini and Challinor. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Ms. Louise Beveridge, Sustainability Research Institute, School of Earth and Environment, Faculty of Environment, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, United Kingdom, Louisebeveridge@hotmail.co.uk