Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Impacts of External Food Aid on Indigenous Food Security Strategies in Marigat District, Kenya

Academic journal article Journal of Emerging Trends in Economics and Management Sciences

Impacts of External Food Aid on Indigenous Food Security Strategies in Marigat District, Kenya

Article excerpt

Abstract

This research was carried out in Marigat district that is largely an arid and semi arid in lower Baringo County. The characteristics of Marigat are high temperatures and low rainfall. The area experiences food insecurity that has attracted food aid from external agencies such as World Vision Kenya and World Food Programmes. The main objective of this study was to assess the impacts of external food aid on indigenous food security strategies. The study is significant as it provides important information on the need to use sustainable policies on external agencies to guide their food security interventions that ensure the greatest positive impact on food security and livelihoods, thus reduce or eliminate community dependency on food aid. The study is guided by Human Ecology theory which emphasizes the role that culture has in explaining the nature of human societies. The study target population consists of food aid recipients in Marigat district. The respondents were systematically sampled from World Vision's food distribution lists available, and the starting point randomly selected. The sample size was calculated at 300 households and questionnaires administered to respondents. In each household, the respondent was the household head or spouse or the eldest son or daughter aged above 18 years old. The research collected data from six focus groups consisting of ten members each and another fifteen key informants. Primary data was collected using questionnaires and interview guides. Secondary data was obtained from World Vision Marigat documentations, Baringo community libraries and University libraries. Data collected was cleaned, coded and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences (Version 16). Quantitative data is presented using frequencies and percentages; correlation coefficient; and independent t-test. Qualitative data was sorted and interpreted according to the research objectives. The results indicate increase in household food security with provision of food aid in and residents' reduced use of indigenous foods and coping strategies. The food aid recipients saw external interventions as God sent opportunity to save them from food insecurity. The study recommends that food aid should not replace the existing traditional food insecurity coping strategies but, compliment them such as fishing, hunting and gathering, meat preservation, food rationing and borrowing from relatives.

Keywords: crisis, drought coping strategies, food distribution, community resilience, Baringo County.

(ProQuest: ... denotes formulae omitted.)

INTRODUCTION

Despite the universal recognition of every person's right to food, vulnerability to hunger remains a daily reality for many. Vulnerability to food insecurity continues to recur and increase during extended periods of drought (KNHR, 2004). Food aid policies and institutions at national and international level have critical impacts on livelihoods. Food relief operations must be highly responsive to changing food security conditions and food aid requirements. Free food aid /handouts are conceptually simple operations but have numerous hidden costs (Watkins 2002). Emergency food aid distribution has the primary objectives of saving life, avoiding widespread /acute malnutrition and preserving livelihoods. The concerns to study food aid arise because the ultimate impacts of food aid programs (like any other policy intervention) are not always as intended (Action Aid, 1998).

An individual, household or community exhibits dependency when it cannot meet its immediate basic food needs without external assistance (Lentz et al 2005). Many efforts have been put in place by government and external agencies to solve food insecurity this problem but in vain. Hence the need to assess the impacts of external food aid on community food security strategies and their perception on external aid agencies. The paper analyzes the role of external food interventions and how they have impacted on the use of indigenous foods and other food security strategies and recommends appropriate strategies towards sustainable food security in Marigat district, Kenya. …

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