Household production, consumption, and food security status in Kakamega region of Kenya
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This study assessed total food production, availability, and security among farm households in four agroecological zones of the Kakamega region of Kenya to determine, for the 1995-96 crop year, 1) the resource base, 2) how livestock numbers influenced food security, 3) the level of food security, and 4) how off-farm employment and income influenced food security. The number of persons in a household was based on adult equivalents and was used to estimate the household food requirements and labor availability. Household food supply was from farm-produced crops, livestock, and market purchases. Farm income was generated from sales of crops and livestock and from leasing land, while off-farm income included wages, trade, and donations. The farmers in the low middlelands and upper middlelands had limited production resources and were food-insecure. Possession of livestock increased food security. Households in the other zones had sufficient food from farm production, supplemented with purchases. Over 60% of total household income was from off-farm wages. Households in all the zones supplemented food production with purchases using income generated from on- and off-farm activities. Agroecological zones, total land size, number of cattle, permanent off-farm employment, and total labor used for farming were statistically significant in influencing household food consumption and security. The general conclusion from the research is that policies that would intensify food production and improve off-farm employment would enhance food security in the region.