Effect Of Small Scale Irrigation On Food Security In Miriga Mieru East Division Of Imenti North District, Kenya
About 80% of the Kenyan population depends on agriculture. Again 80% of the country is arid and semi-arid lands (ASAL) and typically characterized by low (100-1,200 mm per annum) and erratic rainfall, high evaporation rates and generally fragile ecosystems. The Government of Kenya has identified irrigation as an important tool in addressing food insecurity and enhancing households' income in the rural areas. In the arid and semi-arid areas there is much food insecurity due to over reliance on rain-fed agriculture. In these areas sustainable agriculture can only be achieved through well planned and operated irrigation projects. Miriga Meru division benefited from the government of Kenya funds in improving food self-sufficiency, and enhancing household incomes. The purpose of this research was to determine the effect of small scale irrigation on household food security in MirigaMieru East Division of Imenti North District, Kenya. The study sought to determine the effect of type of crop grown, household income and cost of the irrigation systems on household food security in Miriga Mieru East Division in line with the economic pillar of Kenya vision 2030. This study used a descriptive research design. The target population of the study was1036 small scale irrigation farmers in Miriga Mieru East Division, 3 extension officers from the Ministry of Agriculture and 15 Executive Committee members of the three projects. The data was collected from a sample size of 196 farmers using simple random sampling procedure. The researcher used purposive sampling also to select 3 extension officers and 15 executive project committee members. The total sample size used in the study was 214. Primary data was collected using household survey questionnaires, key informant interviews and focused group discussions. Pre-testing of research tools was carried out to ensure that the questions were relevant and clearly understood. Data was analyzed using the statistical package for social sciences. For the quantitative data, both descriptive and inferential statistics techniques were employed for analysis. The qualitative data took conceptual content analysis process. The strength and direction of a linear relationship between the variables was analyzed using Pearson’s correlation coefficient. The study found that 50% of the farmers grew bananas, 25% grew French beans, 15% grew sweet potatoes while 10% grew watermelons. It was clear that high value crops and subsistence crops affected household food security to a very great extent with a mean score of 2.978 and 2.932 respectively using a scale of 1-5. The study also established that household income affected household food security in Miriga Mieru East Division to a very great extent(40%) as they earned between Kshs20,001 – 30,000 per month. Most (30%) of the farmers indicated that the cost of the irrigation system affected household food security in Miriga Mieru East Division to a very great extent. It is concluded that there is a positive relationship between food security and type of crop grown, household income and cost of irrigation system. The positive relationship indicates that there is a correlation between the factors and food security with type of crop having the highest value and cost of irrigation systems having the lowest correlation value with r-values of 0.794,0.652 and 0.735 respectively. The study recommends that farmers should embrace crop diversification so as to increase crop portfolio so that they are not dependent on a single crop to generate their income and guard against food insecurity. This study will help Ministries of Agriculture, Water and Irrigation, service providers, and the local community for assistance and effectiveness in management of existing irrigation projects in improving food security in the study area.