Strategic responses by the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries to challenges of food security in Kenya
Thompson and Strickland (1998) pointed out that an organization‟s strategy consists of moves and approaches devised by management to produce successful organizational performance. That strategy is a management‟s game plan for the business. Without a strategy, there is no established course to follow, no roadmap to manage by, no cohesive action plan to produce the intended results. This study observed the strategic responses by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to challenges of food security. The objectives of the study were to determine challenges of food security in Kenya and establish strategic responses adopted by the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries to address such challenges. This study was based on the fact that organizations exist in ever changing environments that shape their opportunities and threats and in order to cope with the changes, organizations must adjust accordingly such changes for them to achieve their intended objectives. Both primary and secondary data was collected in order to achieve the objectives of this study. Primary data was collected through conducting personal interviews with the principal secretaries in The Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. Secondary data was obtained from the records within the Ministry. A case study was used as the preferred research design for this study in order to have an in-depth understanding of strategic responses by the ministry of agriculture, livestock and fisheries to challenges of food security. This design was appropriate since it provided solutions to the research problem through description of challenges of food security and strategic responses adopted by the Ministry. The data collected from the respondents was qualitative in nature and was analysed using content analysis which enabled the researcher to reduce a large mass of data to simpler, more understandable terms hence making it easier to understand the data that was used. The study established that food security challenges in Kenya have adversely affected the livelihoods of most households. These challenges include Climate change, Postharvest losses, Inaccessibility to household productive resources, High prices of food items, Poor distribution and marketing structures, High population growth rate and high cost of farm inputs and Inadequate production and conflicts. According to the study, the ministry has responded to these challenges through implementation of irrigation schemes to boost production, construction of rural roads to ease transportation of food to markets, climate change mitigation and awareness programmes, soil and water conservation projects and construction of storage facilities such as grain stores. The ministry has managed to address challenges of food security through such strategies but not adequately as food insecurity is still a challenge. For this reason the researcher recommended that the ministry should focus on prior planning and development of strategies to avoid reactive actions that are applied when situations have already gone wrong. Long term strategic planning should be put in place to avoid reactive responses like distribution of food aid to already affected people. Early warning systems should be developed in order to avert disasters. The ministry should focus more on research and development in order to be efficient in responding pests and disease outbreaks. Extension services provision to farmers should be intensified to enlighten farmers on modern farming technologies so as to reduce over-reliance on rain-fed agriculture. However, limitations of the study observed by the researcher were due to long time taken to book appointments with the respondents due to their busy schedules and inadequate time offered by some of the respondents for interview which led collection of shallow information.