Livelihood Diversification Strategies and Livelihood Outcomes among Agro-Pastoral Households in Laikipia North Sub-County, Kenya
Irungu, Martin Waithaka
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Despite the existing efforts by the agro-pastoral communities to seek livelihood alternatives, they still encounter persistent livelihood insecurity. The growing burden of the need to address food scarcity, among other crises, reflects Arid and Semi-Arid Lands communities' inability to survive without external aid. This study aimed to investigate livelihood diversification strategies and the subsequent livelihood outcomes among agro-pastoral households in Laikipia North Sub-County, Kenya. The specific objectives of the study were; to establish the demographic characteristics of the agro-pastoral households; to investigate the livelihood outcomes; to explore the influence of assets on livelihood outcomes; to establish the relationship between livelihood challenges and livelihood outcomes among agro-pastoralists and to establish the relationship between livelihood diversification and livelihood outcomes in Laikipia North Sub-County. The study adopted a cross-sectional survey design where a sample of the population was selected, and from these individuals, data was collected to help answer the research questions. A total of 422 households were systematically sampled. Data was collected from household heads using household questionnaires and key informant interview guide with County Agriculture and Livestock Officer. Analysis of data was done using SPSS (version 20). Pie charts, frequency tables, and bar graphs present study findings. Significant correlations between variables were tested using the Chi-square test and Spearman rank correlation coefficient at a significance level of 0.05. The study realized a response rate of 90.3% of whom 55.9% were household heads. The average years the respondents had lived in the area was 43. The study found that climate change was a major cause of disparity between the past and current livelihood diversification strategies at 40.7%. Assets (physical, financial and social) were found to significantly influence livelihood outcomes. However, the challenges the respondents faced were found to have no significant influence on the livelihood outcomes (χ=1.017, df =1, p=0.313). Finally, there was a significant relationship between the adopted livelihood strategies and livelihood outcomes (χ2=14.730, df =1, p=0.000, r=-0.197). The study made recommendations to the relevant entities to strengthen extension services, improve infrastructure and provide a conducive business environment.