DETERMINANTS OF HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY STATUS AMONG THE SMALLHOLDER FARMING COMMUNITY IN KILIFI SOUTH SUB- COUNTY, KENYA
CHEGE, JAMES MACHARIA
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Food security is critical to the economic, social, religious, political and cultural development worldwide. This study goes deeper to investigate the role of household characteristics, food security constraints, extension services and livelihood strategies on food secuty in Kilifi South Sub-county. This Sub-county is one of the areas where food insecurity incidences are prevalent as a result of unpredictable rainfall patterns, sandy soils and high evaporation rate which as a result leads to numerous undesirable effects, such as frequent crop failure, high food commodity prices and famine. The study adopted survey design. The aim was to identify and analyze the determinants of food security status among the smallholder farming community members in Kilifi South Sub-county. The objectives of this study are (1) to determine the influence of household characteristics on household food security status among the smallholder farming community, (2) to determine the influence of food security constraints on household food security status among the smallholder farming community, on household food security status among the smallholder community, (3) to determine the influence of agricultural extension on household food security status among the smallholder farming community and (4) to determine the influence of livelihood strategies on household food security status among the smallholder farming community in Kilifi South Sub-county. The study administered a standard questionnaire to a sample of 384. Sampling was done by use of systematic sampling procedure. Data collected on food security status was analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. From the information gathered through personal interviews, (80%) of all the farmers were food insecure. Famers in the age bracket 36-45 years were more food secure (10%) compared to other age groups. Households with at most 2 members were more food secure (10%), farmers with secondary education were also (10%) food secure while females were more food secure (12%) compared to males. Land ownership through possession of title deeds was found to be significantly (P< 0.1). This is as a result of increase in food security by (7%) with individual land vi ownership increasing food security by (11%). The inferential results show that the significant factors are age of the household head was significant with, household size with, education level of the household head with and gender of the household heads, credit from banks, possession of title deeds, land size, early planting, participation in off-farm activities, irrigation, soil and water conservation, agroforestry, indigenous knowledge and agricultural diversification. It was therefore concluded that households with small family sizes; and households with heads that are female, have higher level of education and middle aged are more food secure. To further enhance food security and improve food security status in Kilifi South Sub-county, possession of title deeds, participation in extension and engagement in off-farm activities should be encouraged. The findings of this study would be beneficial to leaders, stakeholders and policy makers in decision making process pertaining suitable interventions in attainment of food security in Kilifi South Sub-county.