THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRADITIONAL VEGETABLES TO HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN TWO COMMUNITIES OF VIHIGA AND MIGORI DISTRICTS, KENYA
Household food insecurity is a serious recurrent problem for Kenyan smallholding farmers for whom hunger periods and/or nutritional deficiencies are frequent. Hunger periods are periods of time in which the stocks of food staples, such as maize or cassava, are finished and household food security relies on available cash. The goal of this study was to compare the current situation regarding household food security of two sites in Vihiga and Migori districts (Western Kenya and Nyanza Provinces, respectively) which have different bio-physical, socio-economic, and ethno-cultural characteristics. The role of agrobiodiversity, and more specifically diversity of traditional leafy vegetables, in dietary diversity and household food security were also tested. Data collection was done by conducting farm surveys. Three types of vulnerability in household food security were identified based on off-farm income (%) and self-sufficiency of staple food production. Traditional vegetables are widely grown and consumed daily along with the staple maize meal, ugali, contributing to micronutrient intake. Maize self sufficiency and diversity of traditional vegetables are higher in Migori than in Vihiga. Most vulnerable households in Vihiga have a triple threat because during their long gap of maize stock, cash is needed to buy maize and prices are much higher due to the high demand. No direct link between agrobiodiversity and household food security was found in this study. Therefore the role of agrobiodiversity by itself, and more specifically the diversity of traditional vegetables, in household food security might be overrated.
Figueroa, B.M., Tittonell, P., Giller, K.E. and Ohiokpehai, O. (2009). THE CONTRIBUTION OF TRADITIONAL VEGETABLES TO HOUSEHOLD FOOD SECURITY IN TWO COMMUNITIES OF VIHIGA AND MIGORI DISTRICTS, KENYA. Acta Hortic. 806, 57-64
household food security, hunger periods, dietary diversity, agrobiodiversity, traditional leafy vegetables