Land use management for household food security in Sabatia division of Vihiga district, Western province, Kenya
Asule, Pamellah Adamba
MetadataShow full item record
Food security is a fundamental issue facing the world today. In sub-Saharan Africa, especially, food production has failed to keep pace with the ever-increasing demand, a situation that has been aggravated by among other factors, civil strife, frequent droughts, diminishing farmland and widespread poverty especially under the structural adjustment programme. The result has been millions of hungry people. Projections for the future point at the need for urgent action to improve the food security situation of millions of vulnerable people worldwide. This study was designed to examine the land use management strategies employed by a section of smallholder farmers in Kenya in their quest for food security. Smallholder farmers are the country' largest vulnerable group to food insecurity. The purpose of the study was to investigate how smallholder households in Sabatia Division of Vihiga District sought to improve their food security situation against a background of limited production resources, and in the face of rapidly changing social, economic, technological and ecological conditions. The sample of the study comprised of 125 smallholder (having access to land not exceeding 10 acres) households in the Division. Purposively sampled key informants who included the local agricultural extension officer, an official at the local NCPB depot, some village elders and the area Divisional Officer provided additional information. Data were collected using interview schedules and questionnaires with both open-ended and closed-ended questions. The single-visit household survey was the main method of data collection. The data were analyzed using simple descriptive statistics, and the results presented in tables of frequency distribution. Chi-square tests of independence between selected variables were also performed. The study revealed that there were more food insecure households than food secure ones in the Division. The factors that influenced the food security of households were the size of land that a household had access to, the education level of the household head, the technologies used in food production, and the household head, the technologies used in food production, and the household income as determined by diversification of the sources of income for the household. The others were the low productivity of the available land and poor weather. Households had extensive knowledge about various aspects of food security and how to utilize the available land in order to improve their food security. They had in place various strategies to enhance food production but these strategies were lacking in effectiveness because of the low input of modern technologies. As a result, many farmers constantly harvested staple food that did not last between seasons, despite the fact that there were two cropping seasons in a year. In conclusion, the findings were examined and their implications discussed. General recommendations were made for the improvement of the food security situation of smallholder households in Sabatia Division.