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Abstract

A rural household, with little or no formal education and limited opportunities for non-farm income generating activities, will produce rather than purchase staples for household consumption. Many subsistence farmers are net-food buyers, often facing the challenge of ensuring household food security in lean seasons of production when their stock is exhausted (cyclical food insecurity). This paper determined the optimal farm plan, profit levels of crops, and farmer behaviour when given the option to purchase or produce food using a linear programming framework. Findings from the LP model show that capital is the most constraining resource for both male and female farmers. Making an additional capital of US$180 available to female farmers will increase their net income by US$823 but making one additional acre of land available to them will only increase income by US$200. As land reforms take time, addressing their credit needs is an appropriate short-term intervention.

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