Challenges Faced and Opportunities for Sustainable Household Food Security among Smallholder Farmers in Moiben Location, Uasin Gishu County, Kenya
Mukabane, Atieno Damary
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Attaining food security continues to be a challenge for many nations in the world. Foodsecurity; a situation in which all people, at all times, have physical and economicaccess to sufficient, safe and nutritious food to meet their dietary needs and food preferencesfor an active healthy life; is affected by a complexity of factors. Moiben location in UasinGishu County, Kenya is classified among the high agricultural potential areas yet familiesexperience seasonal food scarcity. A study to investigate challenges and opportunitiesfor sustainable household food security by smallholder farmers was conducted in thelocation. The objectives ofthis study were to: evaluate the overall food production amongsmallholder farmers in Moiben Location; establish the socio-economic challenges andopportunities influencing sustainable household food security among smallholder farmersin Moiben Location; determine technological challenges and opportunities influencingsustainable household food security among smallholder farmers in Moiben Location; establish the environmental challenges and opportunities influencing sustainable householdrfood security among smallholder farmers in Moiben location. The study employed crosssectional descriptive survey design and used a researcher administered questionnaire tocollect data from 102 smallholder farmers, interview schedules for the local administrationofficer and the area Agricultural Extension Officer, and focus group discussion guide.Sampling techniques used in the study were simple random and purposive. Reliabilityof the instruments was established through pre-testing the instrument. Cronbach's alphawas used to assess the reliability coefficient. The data was analyzed using both descriptiveand inferential statistics such as percentages, frequencies, chi-square and Analysis ofVariance (ANOVA). The study established that maize was the highest harvested crop inthe area followed by wheat and vegetable. Cowpeas and beans were lower among thesmallholders. Poultry followed by dairy cows and goats were important livestock in theareas. Milk was the highest followed by eggs and beef among the food items. All thesocio-economic factors including sex, age, household size, highest levels of education,occupation and income affected the food crop and livestock production. Food productionwas higher among females than males and increased with improvement in some socioeconomicfactors of the farmers. Technology use was low among the smallholder farmersand limited food production. Some of the environmental factors limited food production.The study established that in the recent years, rainfall distribution had become irregularand insufficient thus posing a challenge for the smallholder farmers in the study area. The present study indicate that socio-economic factors, technological and environmentalfactors, limited food production and improvement in these factors are one of the ways thatcould enhance food production, hence food security.