Effect of fish farming on household food security in western Kenya
This study examined the impact of fish farming on household food security and livelihoods of fish farming and non-fish farming households in Siaya County. Fish farming involves raising fish commercially in tanks or enclosures, usually for food. Currently fish farming remains under developed in Western Kenya where pond productivity is low and not rising, despite the efforts of several players including the national government of Kenya. Further, capture fishing in Lake Victoria and rivers has been declining. These scenarios called for the need to examine the production systems and their current performances. The objective of the study was to examine effect of fish farming on household food security and livelihoods. A correlational research design was adopted for the study. Stratified random sampling was used to select fish farming and non-fish farming households. For nutritional assessment, lactating mothers and pre-school children were selected through stratified and systematic random sampling. Chi-Square revealed slight association between nutritional status and fish farming (𝜒4,0.012= 0.448;p>0.05) though not significant. Analysis of variance found a higher dietary diversity score for fish farmers at 77.1% (CL: 95%) compared to 14.6% (CL: 95%) for non-fish- farmers on the high end Hoddinote Scale. From the measurement of the mid upper arm circumference (MUAC) of pre-school children, a correlation coefficient was determined to establish if there is a relationship between improved nutritional status and fish farming. Findings were that non-fish farmers experienced more food shortages than fish farmers. Children from fish farmers’ households were well nourished as compared to those of non-fish farmers. This study will benefit farmers since they will adopt Best Management Practices in fish farming in order to improve their household food security and livelihoods through increased income. Increased fish farming will avail fish as food hence improved food and nutrition security to curb incidences of under-nutrition in pre-school children and lactating mothers.
Key words: Fish farming, Food security, Livelihoods, Household, Nutritional Assessment
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