Analysis of Smallholder Sugarcane Farmers’ Livelihood Assets in Relation to Food Security in Mumias Sub- County Kenya

Lilian Kidula -Lihasi, Christopher Onyango, Washington Ochola


Seventy five percent of the African population live in rural areas, majority being smallholder farmers who depend on agriculture for their livelihoods. In Kenya, over ninety percent of the sugarcane out-growers are smallholders, and rely on sugarcane farming as their main source of livelihoods. However, sugarcane farming though popular has not been able to sustain smallholder farmers’ livelihoods and food security. While sustainable livelihoods depend on the access to and control over assets, namely, human, social, physical, natural, and financial capital; livelihood assets define options available to households and constraints on households in pursuit of their livelihood options such as food security. Thus in understanding the livelihoods of smallholder sugarcane farmers’, this study analyzed livelihood assets in relation to food security in Mumias sub-County, Kenya. The study was premised on the Sustainable Livelihood Theory and employed Mixed Methods Research Design. A random sample of 261 farmers drawn from a population of 1,907 smallholder sugarcane farmers in Lureko Location, Mumias sub-County, Kenya participated in the survey. To validate emerging issues from survey, 50 smallholder sugarcane farmers purposefully selected, participated in Focus Group Discussions. Analysis of data involved qualitative and quantitative methods based on the study objectives and research questions. The study observed that smallholders’ have low asset base, which threaten their options for food security.

Keywords: Smallholders, Sugarcane, Livelihood, Assets, Food Security

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