Examining the Socio-Economic Factors Influencing Sustainable Food Production in Arid and Semi-Arid Lands of Elgeyo Marakwet County in Kenya
Kimitei, Kipchirchir Isaac
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Food insecurities remain a major challenge to many developing countries. The Food and Agricultural Organization estimates that 811 million people experienced hunger in 2020. In Kenya, the arid- and semi-arid (ASAL) Humanitarian Network estimates indicate that one in 10 people in ASAL areas faced high levels of food insecurity. Although some ASAL counties such as Elgeyo Marakwet have benefited from several famine interventions projects to reduce food insecurities, poverty, hunger, and food insecurities remain high. Consequently, this study examined the socio-economic, management practices, and capacity-building factors that affect production of food in ASAL areas, learning from implementing the Community Agricultural Development for Semi-Arid Lands project. The study employed a cross-sectional survey to collect data from various farmer groups that benefited from the program. A sample of 136 determined using Krejcie and Morgan’s table was randomly selected from the list of farmer beneficiaries. Data was analysed using the Statistics Software Package for Social Scientists (SPSS) version 21. Data presentation was conducted by use of cross-tabulated tables, percentages and frequency distribution tables. From this study, Marital status (𝑝=0.006), Family type (𝑝=0.038), Family size (𝑝=0.018), land ownership (𝑝=0.021)And land size (𝑝=0.006) had a significant association with overall sustainable food production. The study found a statistically significant relationship between management practices (𝐹(1,134)=321.94,𝑝<0.0005), capacity building (𝐹(1,134)=1239.91,𝑝<0.0005) and overall sustainable food production.Consequently, programs aiming to improve food production in these areas and other similar settings should prioritize capacity building among farmers and deploy sustainable food production approaches while considering the socio-economic factors such as family type, family size and marital status that significantly influence food production. Besides, other factors such as land ownership must be urgently addressed if increased food production in the areas has to be realized.