The Baringo Research Project is part of a larger project carried out by the African Women’s Studies Center (AWSC) of the University of Nairobi, which included 20 other counties
The African Women’s Studies Centre (AWSC), in collaboration with the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS), undertook a countrywide household baseline survey on food security to establish the status of food security in Kenya. In addition to being a reflection of AWCS’s recognition of the efforts made by the Government of Kenya towards implementation of food security for all, the study was in accordance with the mandate of AWSC to promote women’s experiences, knowledge, needs and contributions towards influencing national and county policies.
The survey was part of a broader project, funded by the National Treasury, which included documenting women’s experiences on food security in 20 counties, developing programmatic and policy proposals, and initiating lobbying and advocacy activities directed towards influencing policy makers to adopt these proposals and to make budgetary allocations to fund them. It was also in line with the efforts being put in place to implement the Constitution of Kenya 2010 with particular focus on Article 43 (1)(c) which states that “every person has a right to be free from hunger and to have adequate food of acceptable quality” (Republic of Kenya, 2010).
The broad project objectives were to establish the status of food security in Kenya and, through a consultative process, come up with proposals for ensuring food security in the country and share these proposals with policy makers.
This report outlines the research methodology, key findings, challenges, and recommendations. The research was carried out in 20 counties selected from the country’s six agro-ecological zones. The study covered 4,200 households in 440 clusters. In addition, the research teams held consultations with policy makers, including County Executive Officers, among them the Governors and the Members of the County Assemblies; representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs); representatives of institutions responsible for food security; and community opinion leaders, including religious leaders, women, and youth leaders. The research team was led by agricultural scientists and economists. Senior level management of the University of Nairobi and the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics participated in this research.
The findings reveal that Baringo County is food insecure, with 17 per cent often and/or always hungry. In total an average of 17 per cent of the respondents were suffering from chronic food insecurity. It is worth noting that households headed by women were found to be more food insecure than those headed by men. This correlates with the fact that men and women are said not to have equal access to land which is a critical resource in food security considering that the same proportion of men and women (50%) depend on crop farming and livestock keeping as their main source of accessing food.
Some of the factors found to contribute to food insecurity in Baringo included: unfavorable climatic conditions; high cost of farm inputs; poor road network which results into high food prices and impedes access to markets; lack of access to effective agricultural extension services and support to small scale farmers; negative attitudes towards agriculture as a livelihood activity especially by men and youth; lack of capital for agri-business projects; exploitation by wealthy middlemen who buy directly from the farmers; lack of employment opportunities in the job market and low wages for people employed as casual laborers; high levels of poverty and socio-cultural and traditional values which obstruct development at many levels.
The AWSC has recommended policy and program proposals, to address both nationally and at the level of Baringo County, the plight of Kenyans experiencing chronic food insecurity. The recommended programs are based on the participants’ recommendations. Adoption and implementation of the proposed interventions will ensure that every Kenyan is food secure and will go a long way towards the realization of the MDG 1, Kenya Development Blue Print, Vision 2030 and above all, the Constitution of Kenya, Article 43 (1)(c) that guarantees every person the “right to be free from hunger, and to have adequate food of acceptable quality”.