Household food security and nutritional status of tobacco and non-tobacco growers in marginal areas of Embu district
This study examined the difference in household food security and nutrition status of tobacco and non-tobacco growers in marginal areas of Embu district. The survey was conducted on a random sample of 146 households of tobacco growers with 176 preschoolers and 15-1 households of non-tobacco growers with 174 preschool children. Data were collected using structured questionnaires, focus group discussions and anthropometric measurement were also taken. The study revealed that there was no significant difference in amount of calories produced per year between the two groups. Tobacco farmers had significantly more food available for household use. This was because, unlike non-tobacco farmers, tobacco farmers do not sell most of the harvest. There was no difference in the proportion of household income spent on food although tobacco farmers had significantly higher income. The prevalence of stunting and underweight was higher in non-tobacco growing households, but there was no significant difference in levels of wasting. The factors which seem to influence nutritional status differ by cropping system. For tobacco growers the factors were, household income, amount of calories available for household use, age of the child and household size. For non tobacco growers the factors were, age of the child, mother's age, household size, the number of days the mother is involved in sale of labour, total land cultivated, and total calories available for household use. It was concluded that tobacco growing is compatible with household food security and nutrition in marginal areas.