Exploring The Nexus Between Crop Diversification and Household Welfare, in Borabu Sub-County, Kenya

Omwenga Kerubo Valerie, Margaret W. Ngigi, Raphael Gitau


Following the effects of climate change, there has been a resurgence of interest in promoting crop diversification as a climate-smart agricultural practice in Sub-Saharan Africa to improve food security, increase income, and reduce vulnerability to external shocks. This practice is considered an effective risk management strategy and consumption smoothing strategy in a context characterized by repeated exposure to shocks. Agricultural production in Kenya is mainly dependent on rain-fed cultivation, with maize as the principal staple food crop. However, staple crops face major challenges and therefore, a diversification from over-reliance on staples will be important as part of progress toward achieving food security. The Kenyan government has, for a long time, been promoting crop diversification to improve household welfare and minimize risks associated with heavy dependence on maize. A decline in maize yields associated with the emergence of new pests and diseases, such as maize lethal necrosis disease (MLND) in Borabu sub-county, emphasized the need for maize farmers to diversify away from maize production. Although this strategy is in use, there is no clear evidence of the impact it has on the livelihoods of vulnerable households. Thus, the study sought to find out the nexus between crop diversification and household welfare among small-scale farming households in Borabu sub-county. Multi-stage sampling procedure was used to select a representative sample size of 385 small-scale farmers. Primary data was collected using observations and interviews with the help of a semi-structured questionnaire. The data were analyzed using the STATA computer program. This paper adopted the Endogenous Switching Regression Model to determine the nexus between crop diversification and household welfare, with household welfare being proxied by household financial savings. The findings indicate that smallholder maize farmers who practiced crop diversification experienced an enhanced ability to save than a random individual would have experienced.

Keywords: Crop diversification, household welfare, Maize Lethal Necrosis Disease, Endogenous Switching Regression Model.

DOI: 10.7176/JBAH/13-8-07

Publication date:May 31st 2023

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ISSN (Paper)2224-3208 ISSN (Online)2225-093X

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