Household food security and nutritional status of children in tea and non-tea producing households in Ndia division of Kirinyaga district.
The household food security and nutritional status of children in the tea and non-tea producing households was investigated in this comparative study. This study focused on generating food consumption/purchase information from the farmers themselves, in order to achieve the set objectives. The objectives of this study were: to establish how much land was utilized for tea and food crop production; to determine gender involvement in income utilization; to assess nutritional status of children below five years in tea and non-tea producing households; to compare the nutritional status of children below five years in tea and non-tea producing households; to determine the food security status of tea and non-tea producing households and establish the relationship between nutritional status of children and the household food security in Ndia Division of Kirinyaga District. The study was carried out in Ndia Division of Kirinyaga District, and interview and observation guides were used in this study in order to collect data from a sample of 120 households comprising of 60 tea and 60 non-tea producing households. The data collected was summarized and analyzed by the use of the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) programme. The qualitative data was organized into categories and then into themes where relationships were determined. Out of the 120 respondents, 116 (96.6%) had obtained education up to the secondary '0' level, while only 4 (3.4%) had achieved education beyond this level. The main source of income for the tea-producing households was sale of tea while the non-tea producing households did not have any specific source of income. Therefore most 37(30.8%), of the tea-producing respondents confessed regularity of their Income while only 7(5.8%) respondents from non-tea producing households confessed regularity of income. However, in both areas decisions on income use were mostly 106(80.8%) made jointly that is, by both spouses. The average size of the land holdings in the two areas was 1.8 acres. According to the results of the study, more than half that is, 37(30.8%) of the tea-producing households devoted half and above of their land to tea production and the other less than half to food crop production. On the contrary, all 60(50%) non-tea-producing households devoted more than half of their land to food crop production. Even with a regular income, the tea producers had more 39(32.5%) children who were malnourished than 15(12.5%) children who were malnourished in the non-tea-producing households. The tea-producing households were at the risk of food insecurity because they relied on purchased food to meet the household food needs. This was evident in the large number of malnourished children in their households and their non-diversified meals. The results revealed a relationship between nutritional status of children and the income regularity that is, whether it was regular or irregular and between nutritional status and the type of crops produced that is, whether tea or non-tea. The government, charitable organizations and the nutritionists have a task to undertake in order to improve the nutritional well being of all the individuals and the society as a whole.