Determinants of household dietary diversity among smallholder maize farmers in Uasin Gishu county, Kenya.
Panchol, Michael A
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Kenya’s economy is highly dependent on agriculture with maize being grown nearly in all parts of the country mainly under rain fed environmental conditions and is a food for 98% of the population in Kenya. With most of households with area dependent on maize production, this raises a need to raise income to purchase other food to diversify their diets by selling the portion of their maize produced. This will prove a problematic with the region experiencing a decline in production. Inadequate dietary diversity is a principal cause of malnutrition which amplifies health risk such as stunting and wasting. Their diets are mainly derived from the staples foods which are rich in carbohydrates but low in vitamins and minerals. Lack of nutritional awareness and education for those who prepare food among rural households make them believe that they have consumed enough food without taking into account the dietary requirements. Incorporating food groups with high micronutrients like animal products and fruits can improve the quality of diets through increased dietary diversity. The purpose of the study was to establish the determinants of household dietary diversity among smallholder maize farmers in Uasin Gishu County of Kenya. The specific objectives were to estimate household dietary diversity status and to determine the various factors affecting household dietary diversity. A semi-structured questionnaire survey was employed, with a multistage sampling procedure undertaken to draw 384 farm households. Descriptive statistics was used to estimate household dietary diversity status and multinomial logit model was utilized to examine various factors determining household dietary diversity. The results from the descriptive analysis showed that average dietary diversity score was 1.9 + 0.8 SD. About 25.5% of the sampled households reported a low dietary diversity status, 54.7% reported medium dietary diversity status and only 19.8% reported high dietary diversity status. The findings further showed high consumption of cereals, milk and vegetables in the last 24 hours. Results from multinomial logit model revealed that knowledge of dietary diversity, education level, age of household head, crop enterprises, livestock holding, extension, credit, storage and annual maize income have significant and positive effect on household dietary diversity. Meanwhile off-farm income, meal frequency and annual maize yield have negative effect on household dietary diversity. The study recommends policy intervention to continue providing households with latest nutritional knowledge, awareness and training on the importance of diverse diets. The study further recommends provision of agricultural technologies and the promotion of the use of modern storage facilities to boost food production and income of smallholder farmers which in turn enhances household dietary diversity.
University of Nairobi
RightsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 United States
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