Home gardens are gaining attention as a way to boost food production and income, especially in impoverished areas. As a result, additional empirical evidence is needed to inform policy guidelines aimed at tackling food insecurity and poverty through Home Food Gardens (HFG). After correcting for differences in household demographics, this study examined the impact of HFG adoption on household food security status. The study relies on the data collected from 2,014 households between November 2017 and January 2019 by Lesotho’s Child Grant Programme (CGP) and Sustainable Poverty Reduction through Income, Nutrition, and access to Government Services (SPRING) project impact evaluation. This study employed the Food Insecurity Experience Scale (FIES), an experience measure of food access based on responses to an 8-item questionnaire that assesses conditions and behaviours resulting from a person's inability to obtain food due to a lack of economic or other resources. FIES evaluates the degree of a person's inability to access the food required to live a healthy, active, and dignified life. The empirical methodology considers probable causation between the adoption of HFG and household food security by addressing selection biases that may arise from both observed and unobserved household factors by using an endogenous treatment effects estimator with ordered outcomes.
According to FIES data, 27.8 percent of Lesotho households are food secure, 26.3 percent are moderately food insecure, and 45.8 percent are severely food insecure. Adoption of HFG is also influenced by factors such as educational attainment, agricultural land area for crop cultivation, possession of information gadgets (e.g., television, radio, and mobile phones), and participation in non-farm businesses. Furthermore, our empirical findings show that adopting HFG results in a 31.69 percent chance of households achieving food security status and a 48 percent likelihood of households minimizing severe food security. Our findings reaffirm HFG's contributions to improving and strengthening sustainable local food systems to address food insecurity concerns, particularly in developing countries such as Lesotho. As a result, governments and development organizations should prioritize food-insecure households when developing measures to encourage the use of HFG.