Original Research

Asset vulnerability analytical framework and systems thinking as a twin methodology for highlighting factors that undermine efficient food production

Eromose E. Ebhuoma, Danny M. Simatele, Henry B. Tantoh, Felix K. Donkor
Jàmbá: Journal of Disaster Risk Studies | Vol 11, No 1 | a597 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/jamba.v11i1.597 | © 2019 Eromose E. Ebhuoma, Mulala D. Simatele, Henry B. Tantoh, Felix K. Donkor | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 28 December 2017 | Published: 18 April 2019

About the author(s)

Eromose E. Ebhuoma, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Danny M. Simatele, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Center in Water Research and Development, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Henry B. Tantoh, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Felix K. Donkor, School of Geography, Archaeology and Environmental Studies, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


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Abstract

Food production in developing countries has been highly susceptible to both climatic and non-climatic stressors. To identify the factors that prevent the rural poor from producing food efficiently, various participatory methodologies have been utilised. However, most methodologies have implicitly illustrated how vulnerable the livelihood activities of the poor are from an asset-based perspective. As assets give people the capability to thrive, we make a case for the asset vulnerability analytical framework (AVAF) and systems thinking (ST) as an integrated methodological framework. Data for this study were obtained from the rural Delta State of Nigeria through the principles and traditions of participatory research, which include Venn (or institutional) diagrams, transect walks, brainstorming, community risk mapping and historical timelines. Findings indicate that the AVAF, on the one hand, will make it relatively easier for development practitioners to effectively identify the factors that undermine the poor’s ability to maximise their livelihood assets during food production. The ST, on the other hand, will enable development practitioners to visualise the long-term consequences of the continued inability of the poor to maximise their livelihood assets. This article argues that the utilisation of both AVAF and ST will simplify the complex challenges of decision-making. This, in turn, will facilitate the implementation of appropriate policy interventions to protect the crucial assets necessary for the rural poor to produce their food efficiently and sustainably.

Keywords

asset vulnerability analytical framework; systems thinking; subsistence farmers; Delta State; Nigeria

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