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Abstract

Many smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa are characterised by the integration of crops and livestock. Livestock improve household food consumption; especially where crop production suffers due to worsening agro-climates. Livestock contribute to food consumption directly as food, and indirectly as an input to crop production and a source of income. For oxample, studies in the highlands of Ethiopia showed that the sale of livestock and livestock vroducts can account for as high as 87% of household cash income, which in turn is spent primarily on food. The fulfilment of a household's food consumption preferences is a preraquisite to its attainment of food security. 111is paper presents the preliminary results of an analysis of the linkages between livestock lioldings, household characteristics, and food consumption of smallholders in the highlands of Ethiopia - a region with a long history of crop-livestock integration on the household farm (Ind where women play a dual role as farmers and home caretakers. A proportionate stratified random sample of 107 households was selected. Results showed that households with more oxen also have more livestock. Female heads and illiterate heads were most numerous in households with no ox. This indicates that households with lower livestock holdings, primarily those with female or illiterate heads, may be more vulnerable to food Insecurity. The amount of food consumed is not significantly different among the oxen ownership groups. Nonetheless, the sources of food, i.e. own production or purchased, may Indicate the household's ability to be self-sufficient and to purchase preferred foods.

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