An Analysis of The Impact of Agro-Ecological Zones on The Influence of The Key Factors That Affect Food Security: The Case of The Embu County in Kenya
Ndirangu, Samuel N.
Mbogoh, Stephen G.
Mbatia, Oliver L.E.
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This paper is based on the results of a study that was carried out to determine the impact of agro-ecological zones (AEZs) on the influence of the key factors that affect household food security through a case study in the Embu County of Kenya. The Embu County was chosen for a case study because it is endowed with most of the various types of AEZs found in Kenya. The three agro-ecological zones covered in the case study were the Sunflower-Zone (UM 4 and LM 3), the Coffee Zone (UM 1-3) and the Tea Zone (LH 1-2), based on  categorization of the AEZs in Kenya. The study analyzed and evaluated the food security data collected from 384 farm-households which had randomly been selected from the three AEZs in the Embu County using a 4-stage cluster sampling method. Household caloric acquisition method was used to compute a household food security index (HFSI) that was used to measure the household food security status. Previous studies had established that the key factors that influence food security in Kenya include farm size, access to and use of modern technologies in farming, access to agricultural extension services, farm household size, age and education level (literacy) for the head of household and household dependency ratio. This study found that the AEZs had a significant impact on the effects of the key factors that influence household food security in Kenya. The effect of farm size on food security was found to be positive in the Sunflower and Tea zones, but not in the Coffee Zone. Technology adoption was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Sunflower and Coffee Zones, but not in the Tea Zone. Access to agricultural extension was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Coffee and Tea zones, but not in the Sunflower Zone. Household size was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Sunflower and Coffee zones, but not in the Tea Zone. The dependency ratio was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Coffee and Tea Zones but not in the Sunflower Zone. The age of the household head and/or wife was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Tea Zone, but not in the Coffee and Sunflower Zones. The level of education for the head of the household was found to have a significant effect on food security in the Sunflower Zone but not in the Coffee and Tea Zones. On the basis of the study findings, it is concluded that the effects of the factors that influence food security vary by the AEZs. Therefore, AEZ-specific measures are recommended to enhance household food security in different areas of Kenya.