PR - Household Food Security In Vihiga District, Kenya: Key Determinants Using An Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS)
Vihiga, one of the poorest and densely populated districts in Kenya is perpetually food deficit (GOK, 2005). Rising population pressure coupled with intense competition for limited resource endowments has curtailed efforts to improve household food production in the district. To make matters worse, unfavourable poverty indicators hinder attainment of food security, in the district, through the demand side. About 57.6 percent of the population and more than 50 percent of households live below absolute poverty line while 57 percent of the population and households live below food poverty line. Poor welfare indicators for Vihiga district underscore the importance and urgency for addressing the basic needs of its residents. Understanding determinants of food security in Vihiga district will improve targeting, the focus and success of policies for addressing food insecurity. This paper examines determinants of food security in Vihiga district using an Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS) to determine the demand side constraints using household survey data. Cluster sampling was used with divisions forming the main clusters in the district. Using systematic random sampling, 50 households were selected from each cluster resulting in a sample of 300. Results show that household income, dependency ratio, gender of household head, household savings/transfers characteristics, ethnicity, education, market access and nutrition awareness significantly influence household food security. Food programmes in Vihiga should pay special attention to household structure, preferences and decision dynamics for successful implementation.
Key Words: Food security, Almost Ideal Demand System (AIDS), Vihiga, Kenya.