A Socio-Economic Analysis
IFood insecurity and chronic hunger are now familiar themes in the development discourse of Kenya and other Sub-Saharan African countries. In spite of the agricultural policy initiatives to achieve food security, mainly food self-sufficiency related, Kenya is still confronted with several challenges. More than 70 per cent of the people reside in rural areas out of whom 60 per cent are absolute poor and subsist on less than one dollar per day. The reliance of more than 75 per cent of rural dwellers on agriculture for livelihood amidst lingering food insecurity validates an investigation of the sector as a source of food entitlement. Based on a sample of 183 smallholder farmers in Vihiga County of Western Kenya, the leitmotif of the book is to examine the complex linkage between the production of marketable agricultural products (cash crops) as well as food crops for subsistence on the one hand and the income situation and food security on the other hand. The book thus offers a felicitous discussion of the comparative advantage of cash crop farming vis-à-vis food crops, the role of cash crops in contributing to improvement of food security and income, the determinants of ex-ante food insecurity coping strategies, as well as household and nutritional expenditure. It gives a clear analysis of Kenya’s instruments of agricultural and food policies and exhibits the insights of the relevant food security and demand theories. The data is appropriately evaluated with the aid of different econometric methods and analysed with regard to the specified research questions and objectives. Ceteris paribus, the results indicate a positive correlation between tea farming, characterized by relatively larger farms, and income, hence food security. The policy recommendations include among others, avoidance of farm subdivision through promotion of agricultural structural change, diversification of asset ownership besides farming, more vocational training for increased off-farm employment as well as the targeting of women and the absolute poor in agricultural extension.
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Farming & Rural Systems Economics Vol. 129ISSN 1616-98082011; XVI +260pp.; 21 x 14,8 cm; paper
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