Horticultural Farming and its Effects on Food Security in Kibwezi Division of Makueni District.

The effects of commercialization of agriculture (cash cropping) on food security of the farming households continue to be contentious. Proponents of the commercialization process see it as a means of improving the overall welfare of small farm households and providing employment opportunities for the rural landless. However critics of cash cropping argue that not only have most of the potential benefits not materialized, but in many cases it has caused deterioration in health and nutrition status of the households.

This study explores how production of horticultural crops consumption behavior of the farmers and the incomes earned by the farmers affect the food security of Kibwezi horticultural farmers. It is within the context of the increasing participation by the farmers in the growing of horticultural crops for the market and current food shortages that the study is set. The study focuses on the implication of the production, consumption behavior and the income earned by the farmers on food security.

The main question in this study is how horticultural crops farming for the market affects the food security of the farming families. Does it enhance or undermine food security of the farmers? The study was carried in two locations, Makindu and Kikumbulyu in Kibwezi Division.

The major findings of the study are that the farmers grow their crops for the market and rely on the purchasing food for nutritional requirements. The study also found out that the farmers do earn enough incomes to purchase their food requirements.

The study recommends that be a formation of a co-operative movement to safe guard the farmers from the exploitation by unscrupulous middlemen so that they can be able to increase their earning. There is also a need to diversify the crops grown and to encourage the farmers to grow some food crops for their home-use.

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