Factors influencing food security in semi-arid counties in Kenya: a case of Kitui County, Kenya
Past studies have identified a myriad of causes of food security in Kenya (Omosa: 1989). They range from natural to artificial, economic to political, and from internal to external. This study focuses on some of the factors influencing food security in Kitui-Kenya. No single factor can be cited as a cause to food insecurity, but the principal factor behind it is low household income (poverty). It's estimated that more than 50% of the Kenyan rural population live below poverty line (FAD: 2000). People in this category are exposed to poverty conditions by such variables like unemployment, underemployment and lack of access to land. Due to these circumstances, they are unable to raise enough income to meet their dietary needs The main objective of the study was to establish how these factors influence food security in Kitui and some literature related to the factors affecting food security at the households in ASALs was given. Data was collected from a population of Kitui County in three locations where 139 households filled the questionnaires; the researcher used interview schedules for Gok officers and traders and analyzed written documents. Since the study was descriptive, analysis of data collected was done using simple frequencies and percentages. The study found that, main threats to food security in the county remains to be the poor performance of rainfall in terms of variations in onset, low amounts received, poor distribution in space and time and early cessation that leads to near total crop failure, poor post harvest management technologies, poverty with low incomes among others. The researcher recommended that, a focus on an intensification of agriculture through irrigation may be one of the under pinning of a sustainable and productive agricultural strategy in the county, adoption of water harvesting technologies, effective storage and improve market and transport infrastructure to increase smallholders income levels in the rural population. Also more studies to be done on the effects of food insecurity in the same area.
University of Nairobi, Kenya
- Faculty of Education (FEd)