An analysis of the factors contributing to food insecurity in Taita-Taveta County

Paper Details

Research Paper 10/10/2022
Views (319) Download (26)

An analysis of the factors contributing to food insecurity in Taita-Taveta County

Mwawuda Grace Wakesho, Mutembei Henry M’Ikiugu, Kilalo Dora
J. Bio. Env. Sci.21( 4), 57-69, October 2022.
Certificate: JBES 2022 [Generate Certificate]


Food security remains a global challenge despite efforts to increase agricultural productivity and identify appropriate policy interventions to address food shortages. It is a major issue in Taita-Taveta (TT) County since the arid and semi-arid land covers approximately 84% of the county’s landmass with little arable area left for food production. The County is heavily influenced by the South Easterly winds except for the Taita hills, which are wetter, the rest of the land is dry. The study examined factors that contribute to food insecurity in TT County. A survey was carried out and used a descriptive design. A total of 240 farmers were selected using purposeful and simple random sampling methods in two sub-counties: Voi and Taita. They were interviewed using a formal survey with a structured questionnaire as a data collection tool. Data was collected and analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) in accordance with the study objective. The findings revealed that major factors contributing to food insecurity were climate change, inadequate rainfall, and natural disasters. Other factors were lack of access to land, lack of government support, and socio-cultural factors. The general perception was the existence of food insecurity, whose effect was perceived to be a rise in the cost of food, hunger, and high food crisis. The majority (64.6%) of farmers did not employ coping strategies, although they adopted local methods to avert the crisis. The land was mainly owned by men therefore women could not make decisions pertaining to long-term utilization leading to perennial food insecurity.


African Development Bank. Kenya County Gender Profile. 2007. Human Development Department OSHD).

African Women Studies Centre and Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. 2014. Status Report on the Kenya National Food Security. Zero Tolerance to Huger. Kenya Constitution article 43 (1) (c).

Ahearn MC, Tempelman D. 2010. Gender issues in agricultural and rural household well-being. Paper presented at the Third Global Conference on Agricultural and Rural Household Statistics, 24±25 May 2010, Washington, DC.

Antti A, Johansson T, Motaroki L, Minoia P, Pellikka P. 2021. Constraints for adopting climate-smart agriculture practices among smallholder farmers in South-eastern Kenya.

Cohen L, Manion L. 1989. Research Methods in Education. Routledge and Kegan Paul: London.

County Government of Taita-Taveta. 2018. County Integrated Development Plan – 2018-2022.

Creswell JW, Creswell JD. 2018. Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches. (18th Ed.). Los Angelos: Sage. Retrieved from /810 55 /vdc_100061685603.0x000001

FAO & IWMI. 2018. More people, more food, worse water? A global review of water pollution from agriculture. Rome: FAO/IWMI. Retrieved from FAO/IWMI website: /files/resources/CA0146EN.pdf

FAO. 2010. The State of Food Insecurity in the World: Addressing food insecurity in protracted crises. Rome: FAO.

FAO. 2011. The state of food and agriculture 2010±2011. Women in agriculture: closing the gender gap for development. Rome: FAO; 2011.

FAO. 2021. The state of food security and Nutrition in the World. Transforming food systems for food security, improved nutrition and affordable healthy diets for all.

Folbre N. 2013. The care economy in Africa: Subsistence production and unpaid care. Journal of African Economies 23(1), i128±i156.

FSIN. 2020. Global Report on Food Crises. Joint Analysis for Better Decisions.

Gioto V, Valerian M. 2016. Increasing Food Production Resilience through Integrated Agriculture under Changing Climate in Taita-Taveta County, Kenya. Journal of Climate Change and Sustainability 1,1 ISSN: 25230913. 10.20987 /jccs.1.10.2016.

Government of Kenya. 2013. National Climate Change Action Plan: 2013‒2017. Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, Nairobi, Kenya.

Government of Kenya. 2014. Agricultural Sector Development Support Program. Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries, Nairobi.

Government of Kenya. 2015. The 2015 long rains season assessment executive summary. Kenya Food Security Steering Group (KFSSG).

Government of Kenya. 2018. The 2018 Long Rains Season Assessment Report. August 2018.

Government of Kenya. 2019. Drought and food security situation in ASAL counties – assessment of the performance of 2019 long rains season. The 2018 Short Rains Season Assessment Report. March 2019

Government of Kenya. 2019. The 2019 Long Rains Mid-Season Food and Nutrition Review Report. May 2019.

IDA. 2020. Responding to the emerging food crisis.

Ikutwa C, Magani G. 2020. Perspectives on Gender Roles in Enhancing Food Security in Kenya’s Drylands. International Journal of Multidisciplinary Sciences and Advanced Technology 1(8), 83-90

Jost C, Kyazze F, Naab J, Neelormi S, Kinyangi J, Zougmore R, Aggarwal P, Bhatta G, Chaudhury M, Tapio-Bistrom ML, Nelson S. 2016. Understanding gender dimensions of agriculture and climate change in smallholder farming communities. Climate and Development 8(2), 133-144.

Kenya Climate Smart Agricultural Project Strategy. 2017-2026. Government of Republic of Kenya.

Kenya IPC Technical Working Group. 2019. IPC Acute Food Insecurity and acute malnutrition analysis July 2019-October 2019. October 2019

Kenya National Bureau of Statistics. 2019. Kenya Population and Housing Census. Volume IC; Distribution of Population by Socio-Economic characteristics.

Kiptot E, Franzel S. 2012. Gender and agroforestry in Africa: A review of women’s participation. Agroforestry Systems 84(1), 35-58. /10.1007/s10457-011-9419-y.

Kombo DK, Tromp DL. 2009. Proposal and Thesis Writing: An Introduction: Kenya: Paulines Publication Africa.

Korir L, Rizov M, Ruto E, Walsh PP. 2021. Household Vulnerability to Food Insecurity and the Regional Food Insecurity Gap in Kenya. Sustainability 13, 9022.

Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries. 2016. Climate Risk Profile for Taita-Taveta. Kenya County Climate risk Profile Series. Nairobi, Kenya.

Mortimore M, Anderson S, Cotula L, Davies J, Faccer K, Hesse C, Morton J, Nyangena W, Skinner J, Walfangel C. 2009. Dryland opportunities: A new paradigm for people, ecosystem and development. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland: IIED, London, UK and UNDP/DDC.

Mudde B, Olubayo F, Miano D, Kilalo D. 2017. Farmer knowledge, perceptions and management of maize lethal necrosis disease in selected agro-ecological zones of Uganda. Afr J Rural Dev. (September): 247-261.

Musebe IN, Edriss AK, Maonga BB, Tchale H, Mbogo S, Musebe RO. 2018. Implications of climate change and variability on food security in Kenya, Afr. J Agric. Res 13 (34), 1761-1770.

Mutea E, Bottazzi P, Jacobi J, Kiteme B, Speranza CI, Rist S. 2019. Livelihoods, and food security among rural households in the north-western mount Kenya Region, Front Sustain Food Syst. DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2019.00098. [43]

Oso WY, Onen D. 2009. A general guide to writing research proposals and reports, The Jomo Kenyatta Foundation, Nairobi.

Pachauri RK, Allen M, Barros V, Broome J, Cromer W, Christ R, Church J, Clarke L, Dahe Q, Daogupta P. 2014. Climate change 2014: Synthesis Report contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Ransford DO, Shouqi Y, Hong L, Liu J, Yan H. 2016. Irrigation, a productive tool for food security- A review; Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Section B-Soil & Plant Sci 66(3), 191-206.

Republic of Kenya and FAO. 2021. Effects of Land Fragmentation on Land Use and Food Security. Case study of Nyamira, Laikipia, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Taita-Taveta, Kiambu, Kajiado, Nakuru, Tana River, Makueni, Isiolo, Kisumu and Vihiga.

Republic of Kenya. 2010. The Constitution of Kenya 2010. Nairobi: Government Printer.

Rigaud K, Kanta, de Sherbinin A, Jones B, Bergmann J, Clement V, Ober K, Schewe J, Adamo S, McCusker B, Heuser S, Midgley A. 2018. “Groundswell: Preparing for Internal Climate Migration.” Washington, DC: The World Bank.

Samantha F Anderson, Ken Kelley, Scott E Maxwell. 2007. Sample-Size Planning for More Accurate Statistical Power: A Method Adjusting Sample Effect Sizes for Publication Bias and Uncertainty University of Notre Dame.

Wangui EE. 2003. Land-use change impacts and dynamics (LUCID): Links between gendered Division of labour and land Use in Kajiado District, Kenya.

Wichelns D, Oster JD. 2006. Sustainable irrigation is necessary and achievable, but direct costs and environmental impacts can be substantial Agric. Water Management 86, 114-127.

World Bank Group. 2021. Climate Change Action Plan. 2021-2025. Supporting Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development.

World Bank, FAO, IFAD. 2015. Gender in Climate-Smart Agriculture. Module 18 for Gender in Agriculture Sourcebook.

World Bank. 2014. Levelling the field: Improving opportunities for women farmers in Africa. Washington, DC: World Bank; 2014.

World Food Programme (WFP). 2019. Kenya Country Brief. August 2019.