Zimbabwe has recently experienced a considerable shift towards the production of more cash crops, such as tobacco, at the expense of food crops. Although cash cropping has been associated with increased income, the question is whether the income gained from cash crops would be enough to provide the food needs of farming households. This research was conducted to analyse the impact of cash crops on household food security. A cross-sectional survey consisting of 281 randomly selected smallholder farmers in Shamva District was used for primary data collection. Data were analysed using the Tobit regression model and Propensity score matching (PSM). The household dietary diversity score (HDDS) was used to measure food security. The PSM results showed a positive impact of cash crop production on the HDDS. This could be attributed to the income effect of cash cropping. Furthermore, Tobit regression results showed that cash crop production (p
< 0.1), non-farm income (p
< 0.01), total arable land (p
< 0.05) and access to draft power (p
< 0.05) positively influenced household food security. Household size negatively impacted food security (p
< 0.05). While the results from this study suggest the need to promote cash crop production, it should not be regarded as the panacea for addressing food insecurity. There is a need for further research to derive optimum combinations of cash and food crops in the crop mixture for smallholder farmers to achieve food security. Furthermore, opportunities for off-farm livelihood options should be developed, since non-farm income had a positive effect on food security.
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