EFFECTS OF SELECTED FACTORS ON FOOD SECURITY AMONG SMALL- SCALE FARMERS IN KAKAMEGA CENTRAL SUB-COUNTY, KENYA

ABSTRACT
Food security is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) one which for Kenya is relevant for eradicating poverty and hunger. Increased agricultural productivity would be solution to the world’s 870 Million (M) food insecure people. Approximately 10M people in Kenya, 51.45% of Western Kenya population and 50-70% of households in Kakamega County suffer chronic food insecurity. Small farm sizes, low yields, production shift from food crops to cash crops and low levels of skills and technological information in farming are considered the principal factors contributing to food insecurity among household heads without higher education and employment. The study therefore sought to investigate the effects of farm size allocated to food crops, sugarcane farming, type of improved maize varieties (IMV) used and education level on food security among small-scale farmers (SSFs) in Kakamega Central Sub-county. The study used a Cross Sectional Survey Research design. Multi-stage proportional-to-size sampling procedure was used to select a sample size of 96 SSFs in 5 locations and 13 sub-locations of Lurambi and Municipality divisions. A questionnaire was constructed and validated by two experts from Agricultural Education and Extension Department of Egerton University. A pilot test, using 30 subjects with similar characteristics from Butere Sub-county, indicated a reliability coefficient of at least 0.70 (Cronbach alpha) at 0.05 significance level indicating the instrument had acceptable reliability threshold. The farmers were mobilized and the researcher introduced by the agricultural extension officer in the area of study. The respondents’ informed consent was obtained from each respondent before they filled a questionnaire. The results were summarized using means frequencies and percentages and then analyzed using regression analysis. The study revealed that farm size allocated to food crops had a statistically significant effect on food security while the use of IMV, sugarcane farming and farmer education level were not. The IMV contributed 12.9%, farm size to food crops 12.1% , farmer education 8.2% and sugarcane farming 3.5% to food security respectively. It was concluded that higher farm size to food crops, use of IMV and higher education level are important for improved food security. The study recommends that farmers should always allocate higher proportion of their farm to food crops and use recommended IMV. The Ministry of Agriculture should always collaborate with stockists of farm inputs and research and extension service providers in order to increase the level of farmer awareness on the new and more yielding crop varieties that improve food security.

CHAPTER ONE
INTRODUCTION
Background of the Study
Food security is the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) one which for Kenya is relevant for eradicating poverty and hunger and other nations. Contrarily, according to Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), an approximate 870 million (M) of the world’s population is food insecure of whom 98% are in the developing countries (FAO, 2012). In Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) one person in every four, lacks adequate food for a healthy and active life (Bremner, 2012). The poor people who are the majority and undernourished, live in rural areas, rely mainly on small-scale agriculture for their food security, have little or no education and own less than 2 hectares (Ha) of land.

Food self-sufficiency, a production-based food entitlement, is the principal indicator of food security contrary to purchased entitlement to food in developing countries. According to FAO, International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and World food Programme (WFP) (2013) food access in developing countries and specifically in the rural areas is limited by inadequate marketing channels, limited non-farm employment and high and unstable food prices. Furthermore, a shift from subsistence crops to the production of cash crops has sometimes been linked to an increased malnutrition rates in SSA (Waswa, Gweyi- Onyango & Mcharo, 2012). The expectation is that through cash crops production rural households can generate adequate monetary incomes to be able to buy more food from the markets. Contrarily in many African countries weak agricultural markets, transport infrastructure and macroeconomic policy factors often play a destabilizing role in misaligning producer and consumer prices (Nah Tiepoh, 2012). According to Nah Tiepoh cash crop production is not an effective way to achieve national food security. In his study Nah Tiepoh, found that about 66 % Liberians do not afford enough grain to feed themselves because they have devoted the bulk of their land into foreign-owned oil palm or cocoa plantations, and turning farmers and other able-bodied men and women into plantation workers. Further the prices that farmers pay for food grains in the markets are often substantially higher than the farm gate or producer prices received from their cash crops due to high food-marketing costs.

About half of Kenya’s estimated 41.8M people are poor and live in the rural areas, suffer from chronic food insecurity and poor nutrition according to Government of Kenya-GoK (2012a). The target of Economic Recovery Strategy (ERS) is to reduce people affected by food insecurity from 48.4% to 23.5 % in 2008 and to 10% by 2015 (GoK, 2012b). The GoK’s new 2010-2020 Agricultural Sector Development Strategy targets a 30% reduction of food insecurity and 25% reduction of poverty in 2014 to surpass the MDG target2015. These may not be achieved without improved, sustainable agricultural productivity which offers a recognized way to escape the poverty trap in many rural areas (FAO et al., 2013). Investing in sustainable family farming is crucial since family farmers produce a high proportion of the food consumed and the biggest source of employment in the world. They are also the custodians of the world’s agricultural biodiversity and other natural resources. According to Owuor (2013) rural households in Kenya put more emphasis in producing part of their food needs rather than wholly relying on the market.

In Western Kenya food insecurity is 51.45% compared to the national figure of 48.8% (MoA, 2011). In the year 2011 about 50% SSFs in Kakamega County had kept between 1 to 3 bags of maize for home consumption and the rest of the farmers relied on unreliable market sources which are beyond the influence of individual poor farmers (Langat, Sulo, Nyangweso, Ngeno, Korir & Kipsat, 2010; MoA, 2011). A household is food secure when it has access to the food needed for a healthy life for all its members and when it is not at undue risk of losing such access due to poor production, high food prices, inadequate wages or inadequate access to market (FAO, 2012). In Kakamega County food situation declined in the months of April and May 2012 owing to disposal of stocks by households to meet the cost of farm inputs and other household needs like school fees and increased food commodity prices on the market (FAO, 2012). Food security is achieved when a household has both physical and economic access to adequate food for all its members and when it is not under undue risk of losing such access (FAO, 2012). Higher crop yields especially maize and diversification in food crops can lead to a reduction of hunger and improved food security because of increased physical access (FAO et al., 2013).Self-sufficiency in maize production has been equated to food security in Kenya. However on-farm yields are low averaging 1.5–2.6 tonnes per hectare (ha) compared to on-station yields of about 5–8 tonnes/ha (MoA, 2010). According to GoK (2010a) the use of improved seed has remained low due to poor distribution systems. GoK, (2010a) report indicates that about 99% of households use retained seed with 63% frequency of use while the formal seed purchases is done by 83% households with only 18% frequency of use. Therefore lack of diversification and reliance on market for food has resulted in food insecurity of approximately 70% of households in the cash cropping zone especially sugarcane and about 50% of households in the mixed farming (FAO, 2012).

The production of sugar cane has decreased food security in the western region since SSFs are putting significantly larger portions of land to sugar cane. This is contrary to the sugar factory recommendation that farmers should not use more than one third of their land for sugarcane cropping (Food-First Information and Action Network (FIAN), 2010). Competition for land use among crops in Western Kenya is biased towards sugarcane and maize production. Moreover, land under sugarcane increases inversely with the size of land under individual food crops such as maize, simsim, finger millet, bambara, groundnuts, sorghum, cassava and sweet potatoes (Netondo, Waswa, Maina, Naisiko, Masayi & Ngaira, 2010). A study by Waiswa (2011) shows that 97.3% of the respondents in Kakamega owned a mean of 3 acres of land and 91.8% of the HH had more than a third of the land on sugarcane growing. Instability in the output and prices of sugarcane has also reduced the purchasing power needed to buy food (Waswa et al., 2012). The area has a high potential of food security due to extensive extension services provided by government, private and Non- Governmental extension providers. The area also has well distributed bimodal, abundant annual rainfall, fertile soils and favourable climate (Jaetzold, Schmidt, Hornetz & Shisanya, 2007).

Education plays a critical role in food security since it empowers individuals and families to make informed decisions on production (Pieters, Guariso & Vandeplas, 2013). Educational status influences adoption level of technologies among farmers which ultimately lead to food Security. Educated farmers have a better opportunity to acquire and process information on new technologies. Low educational attainment and low household income are significantly associated with food insecurity across a population. However, in Western Kenya those who can read and write forms 72.7%, those with primary education are 70.9% and 11.0% have secondary education which is relatively lower than the national targets of 80% (Commission for Revenue Allocation 2013). According to Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), (2010) and National Council for Population and Development (2011),52.1 % of the population in Kakamega faces poverty compared to the national figure of 47%. The most affected include the landless, less educated, subsistence farmers, female-headed households and the unemployed youths. The farmers hold at most 0.7 ha on which they grow a variety of both food and cash crops. Higher inequalities of dietary energy consumption than the national level has been recorded in rural areas, household heads without higher education and employment, female headed households and those with age less than 35 and over 60 years (KNBS, 2010). Therefore there is a great need to investigate and document from farmers on specific factors that affect improvement of their food security and livelihoods.

Statement of the Problem
Lack of crop diversification has contributed to maize being the main food security crop in Kenya. However maize productivity per hectare is relatively lower ranging at 12-14 bags/ha than the national target yields of 25-33 bags/ha. In Western Kenya food insecurity is 51.45% compared to the national figure of 48.8%. Income from sugarcane production cannot support household food budget due to unreliable incomes. Small farm sizes, low yields, production shift from food crops to high value cash crops as well as low levels of skills and technological information in farming are considered the principal factors contributing to food insecurity yet these have not been studied and clearly documented in Kakamega Central Sub- county. In view of these factors, it was necessary to investigate the effects of farm size allocated to food crops, sugarcane farming, type of improved maize varieties used and education level on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county.

Purpose of the Study
The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of selected factors on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county. The factors investigated were farm size allocated to food crops, sugarcane farming, type of maize varieties seed used and education level.

Objectives of the Study
The objectives of the Study were to:

i. Determine the effects of farm size allocated to food crops on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

ii. Determine the effects of the type of improved maize variety seed used on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

iii. Determine the effects of sugarcane farming on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county and

iv. Determine the effects of farmer’s education level on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county.

Hypotheses of the Study
Ho1: The farm size allocated to food crops has no statistically significant effect on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

Ho2: The type of improved maize variety seed used has no statistically significant effect on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

Ho3: Sugarcane farming has no statistically significant effect on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

Ho4: Farmer’s education level has no statistically significant effect on food security among SSFs in Kakamega Central Sub-county;

Significance of the Study
The results of the study were to provide information on the effects of farm size allocated to food crops and sugarcane farming, type of seed maize variety seed used, farmers’ education level on household food security. The result would be helpful to policy makers on planning strategies for ensuring food security in Kakamega Central sub-county. Moreover, it could be used by the Ministry of Agriculture in formulating national and county policies that enhance sustainable agricultural productivity and food security. Further more, it could be used by extension providers to make farmers aware of the implications of decreasing farm sizes, increasing population, choice of crop enterprises and education on food security.

Scope of the Study
The study focused on the effects of farm sizes allocated to food crops, sugarcane farm sizes and income, types of IMV seed used and farmer’s education level of household head on food security with respect to production-based entitlement to food security. The study captured data from both male and female maize farmers with less than 5 acres under maize and other food crops in Lurambi and Municipality Divisions of Kakamega Central Sub-county.

Assumptions
The farmers in Lurambi and Municipality divisions are relatively homogeneous in farming practices and face similar socio-economic problems which influence food security status of households. In addition the farmers would provide reliable and accurate data.

Limitation of the Study
The study covers Kakamega SSFs and any generalizations are limited to the farmers from the area but may be useful to farmers in other areas with similar environmental and socio- economic conditions. The Study focused on availability dimension of food security yet utilization, access and stability dimensions are important in measuring food security of individual and household. Further language barrier was foreseen to create communication barrier between the researcher and the respondents who could not speak English or Kiswahili. However an interpreter was used to administer the questionnaire where the need aroused.

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Item Type: Kenyan Material  |  Attribute: 66 pages  |  Chapters: 1-5
Format: MS Word  |  Price: KSh900  |  Delivery: Within 30Mins.
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