Assessing the Factors Influencing Food and Livelihood Security Among Pastoral Communities in Turkana County, Kenya
Efforts to achieve food and livelihood security at household level in the pastoral areas of Kenya date back over 30 years. For the Turkana pastoralists, food security is perceived to have been achieved when there is adequate income from livestock and other sources to guarantee sufficient purchase of foodstuffs for the household. The design and implementation of effective measures to reduce food and livelihood insecurity depends on an in-depth understanding of the separate and combined roles of socio-economic, ecological, climatic and cultural factors. This study sought to unravel this nexus by assessing location-specific factors influencing food and livelihood security of households in Turkana County, Kenya. The assessment was based on survey data gathered from randomly selected households (N=158) complemented by literature review. A multiple regression model was employed to identify factors influencing household-level food security using Income/Adult Equivalent/Month (IAEM) as a proxy. A total of eleven explanatory variables were included in the empirical model. The results revealed that gender, household size, access to natural resources, diversification of livelihoods, education and access to relief food were statistically significant. The coefficient of gender was positive and statistically significant at 5%. In terms of household size, it was evident that large households were more food insecure than the small ones. As expected, the results of this study indicated that households with better access to natural resources such as water, forests as well as land had higher chances of being more food secure. The results also showed that, households with more diverse income sources (positive coefficient of livelihood diversification) were more food secure than those with fewer revenue xii streams. In terms of education, our results showed that households with fewer members who were educated had a high probability of being food insecure (negative coefficient on education). Finally, our results indicated that pastoralists with access to relief food were less food secure. According to the Pseudo R-Square value, the aforementioned explanatory variables explain at least 50% of the variability in the dependent variable; implying that the model fits well to the data. The findings imply that access to credit and training, access to education, livelihoods diversification, empowerment of women, access to other social amenities and access to natural resources are key to securing household-level food and livelihood security among Turkana pastoralists. These findings provide entry points for policy intervention to reduce food and livelihood insecurity.
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