A comparative study on food security and nutritional status between coffee and non-coffee growing households in Kathiani Division"Machakos District Kenya.
A comparative study on food security and nutritional status of coffee and non-coffee growing households was carried out in Iveti Location of Kathiani Division, Machakos District, in the months of September, October and November, 2000. The objective of the study was to determine the difference in household food security and nutritional status of children aged (6-59) months in coffee growing and non - coffee growing households in the location. A sample size of 350 households was used. The study district, division and location were purposively selected. Random sampling was done at the sub-location to select the villages. The sampling unit was the household. The households were systematically sampled and equal number of coffee and non-coffee growing households drawn. Data were collected using a structured questionnaire, anthropometric measurements and focus group discussions. About three quarters (76 %) of all the households visited did not meet 80% of their daily calorie requirements. Only 7.4% of the households were able to meet their calorie requirement. More households (55%) not growing coffee than households growing coffee (45%) were found to be food insecure. The prevalence in the study area was high. Moderate and severe stunting were 29% and 26% respectively. The figure for severe stunting is too high indicating long-term cumulative effects of inadequate nutrition and health for most of the households. Immediate attention in implementing the recommendations, would, therefore, be necessary. Moderate and severe underweight were 26% and 9.1% respectively, while moderate and severe wasting 4.7% and 0.3%, respectively. Levels of severe underweight and severe stunting were higher than the national and provincial figures. The level of malnutrition was generally higher among households without coffee than those growing coffee except for severe stunting where households growing coffee and those without coffee reported 29% and 26% respectively Further, households growing coffee did not report any case of severe wasting while some households without coffee did (0.3%). It was concluded that household food security is worsened by large household sizes, low levels of education, small land size holdings and other socio-demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. It was also concluded that household food security and nutritional status could be improved by growing coffee. It is suggested that coffee farming should be promoted in households without coffee. It is also recommended that income-generating activities should be initiated. Further, keeping of livestock should be encouraged in both types of households.