Factors influencing household food security among small-scale farmers: the case of West Kanyaluo Location, Rachuonyo District, Kenya.
Oswago, Robert Omondi
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The problem of food security continues to be persistent development problem in a number of developing countries. Many households go to bed without a bite and yet in some developed countries thousands of tons of food is thrown away or fed to animals. The paradoxical coexistence of hunger against a background of plenty is in deed quite unreasonable. In Kenya, the attainment of food security for all has been a central concern of the Kenya Government right [rom independence. This concern not withstanding, the proportion of households experiencing food shortage keeps on rising year after year. This study therefore set out to investigate socio-economic factors influencing food security among small-scale farmers in West Kanyaluo location, Rachuonyo District with a view to charting the way forward for a sustainable food security system. Data was collected from a total of 60 small scale farmers sampled [rom the study area using stratified random sampling. The research design employed was a survey with the use of a questionnaire, focus group discussions, and key informants interviews to collect both qualitative and quantitative data. The quantitative data from the study area were entered into the computer spreadsheets and analysed using the SPSS statistical package. The results indicated that 35 percent of the households had sufficient food supplies annually. However, the remaining 65 percent had varied levels of food deficiency annually. Further statistical analysis usmg Contingency Coefficient measure of association indicated that the main factors influencing food security in the study area included family size; age; education level; land owned; land under crops; main occupation; secondary occupation; level of institutional extension and production technology employed; and structure of decision making on livestock, crops, technology, and soil. However, the Chi-Square test (of significance indicated that the significant factors influencing household food security at 0.05 probability error were: access to agricultural information and training, the size of land owned, and land under crop. The study therefore concluded that inappropriate use of technology and poor socio-economic conditions are key contributors to household food insecurity among small-scale farmers. It is therefore recommended that access to agricultural information and training, size of land owned, education, and information on family planning, need to be enhanced. There is also need to encourage rural industrialisation, and small-scale entrepreneurship through enhanced micro fmancing in order to control rural urban migration and thus ensure retention of adequate labour in the rural agricultural sector.