Coping Strategies among Food Insecure Households in a Sugarcane Growing Belt in Western Kenya

By Brian John Wamunga, Douglas Wakhu and Florence Wakhu-Wamunga.

Published by Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: June 23, 2016 $US5.00

Food production in Mumias, Kenya has been declining over the years and so has food security. The decline in food production resulting in food shortages particularly among sugarcane farmers has affected their welfare, socioeconomic conditions, and health. Despite the renewed Kenyan government efforts to revitalize the Agriculture sector, the annual crop and food situation reports indicate that the region experiences food scarcity during certain months in the year. A descriptive survey was carried out on a randomly selected sample of 354 participants in Lubinu, Lusheya, and Makunga locations. Coping strategies identified include: a reduced number of meals consumed in a day, skipping food consumption for an entire day, borrowing food from a friend or a relative, reducing the size of meals, adults in the household not consuming food to allow children to have it, swapping consumption to less preferred or cheaper foods, selling charcoal or firewood to get food, and sending some of their household members to eat in neighbors’ homes. Food insecurity results in chronic malnutrition due to a continuously inadequate diet. This in turn leads to reduced physical capacity, lowered productivity, stunted growth, and inhibited learning. High food prices have also contributed to increased levels of food deprivation.

Keywords: Coping Strategies, Food Insecurity, Hunger, Poverty

Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Volume 6, Issue 3, September 2016, pp.41-50. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: June 23, 2016 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 603.330KB)).

Brian John Wamunga

Student, Department of Foods, Nutrition, and Dietetics, Kenyatta University, Nairobi, Kenya

Dr. Douglas Wakhu

Assistant Professor, Adult Health Nursing, College of Nursing, Prairie View A & M University, Houston, Texas, USA

Dr. Florence Wakhu-Wamunga

Assistant Professor, School of Agriculture and Biotechnology, University of Eldoret, Eldoret, Kenya