Factors influencing household' food security in ten Southern Districts of Kitui County, Kenya
Musyoka, Shadrack M
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The purpose of this study was to investigate the influence of farmers' education on food security in Kitui District Eastern Province, Kenya. The objectives of the study were to determine the influence of education levels on food security; information technology on food security; gender stereotyped farming roles on food security and the influence of access to key farm inputs on food security; food storage facilities on food security. The study adopted a descriptive survey research design. A cluster followed by purposive sampling was used to select a sample of (150) farmers to give a 14.3% of the target population. Data were collected using a structured closed ended questionnaire and an interview guide. The instruments were validated by colleagues and lecturers in the University of Nairobi who were knowledgeable in research methodology and techniques of developing research instruments. To establish the reliability of instruments, a test-retest method was used by a means of a pilot study. The participants were asked not to write down their names on the questionnaire. They were also assured that their identity remained anonymous in order to uphold their privacy. Data were assigned nominal/ordinal/interval scale values and quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistical tools such as frequency distribution tables and charts. Qualitative data were grouped according to themes and narratives of quoted information from the respondents were used to explain the findings. In the study findings it was found that education levels influence food security; ICT has an influence on food security; gender roles in food production do impact on food security; access to key farm inputs has an influence on food security and lastly, food storage facilities do have an influence on food security in the Southern districts of Kitui County, Kenya. The researcher concluded that household's food security cannot be sustainably achieved without a certain level of education up to class four of primary education. Sustainable food security could be obtained by enhancing own farm food production through adoption of improved, affordable and regional appropriate farming technologies. In conclusion; an important area of agriculture that currently needs to be immediately addressed is agro-processing, which is a key area in agricultural production that is often neglected. There was evidence that the gender stereotyped roles were highly influencing food production, handling, processing and storage which were mainly found to be women's functions than as these functions were carried out by men. This has indirectly been exerting higher influence on the households' food security in the dryland region in the Southern Districts of Kitui County, Kenya. As was revealed in the study findings there was need for a well thought agricultural food and gender policy if all households in dryland areas were to attain sustainable food security. The policy should encourage appropriate regional farming and food storage facilities so as to ensure household's food security. The researcher recommended that to improve food security, there is need for improved and affordable technologies of dryland farming. The researcher recommended creation of awareness about the role of higher education in attaining food security and making education more affordable to the entire population without discrimination. The researcher is suggesting further studies on a sustainable agricultural food policy in arid and semi-arid (ASALs) as well as technologically improved dryland farming.