INFLUENCE OF LIVELIHOODS ON HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN PASTORAL AREAS OF NAROK COUNTY, KENYA
Keywords:Pastoralists, Food Security, Household Livelihoods
Food security and household livelihoods are tied together in an intricate relationship through the former’s dimensions (availability, accessibility, utilisation, stability) and the latter’s elements (Human, Social and Economic Capital). The problem identified by the study was a lack of information regarding the exact way in which the livelihoods of pastoralists in Narok County influence their food security. The study employed descriptive and correlation research designs. Data was primarily collected using questionnaires administered to a sample population of 385, FGD, observation and KII. The objectives established that household food accessibility was largely influenced by economic capital (or the lack thereof); there was a general lack of money to buy food and or produce own food, against a backdrop of, slow onset drought disaster(four year long drought periods in the last 20years) unfavorable livestock prices, and physical access in pastoralist undeveloped land was hampered by poor road communication links. The low education levels (63.8% were found to have never attained any formal education) implied limited economic opportunities for the household. Thirdly it was found that household food utilisation,(operationalised in the study as being access to potable water, latrine use uptake and household food storage practices) was influenced largely by social capital; based on the food module and other indicators of food utilisation as defined by the study, it was seen that the mean percentage status of food utilisation in Narok County stood at 49%.The study concluded that livelihoods have a strong influence on food security, primarily through the social capital (traditional practices, extended family networks and support from formal institutions). The study findings will help enhance policy implementation, in areas of vulnerability to food insecurity for pastoralist households.
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